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English Dramas 





EX IIBI^IS 
IV ELLIS- 

r\ODEivrs 



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Now Ready, price Is., Vol. 2. of the 

VICTORIA LIBRARY 

TT Xkw Series of STANDARD and POPULAR 
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Grattan on Irish Liberty, ' Jones on Democracy, 

Pitt on Union, and 

Peel on the Corn Laws, Gladstone on Parlia- 

Bright on Reform, mentary Oaths. 

Vol. 2.— OLD ENGLISH DRAMAS. 

The Birth of Merlin. I Thomas, Lord Cromwell. 



?lon^on : 
L REEVE & CO., 5, Henrietta St., Covent Garden. 



OLD ENGLISH DRAMAS. 



OLD ENGLISH DRAMAS. 



EDITED, WITH NOTES AND IXTRODUCTIOXS, f5Y 

\T. EVAN JACOB, B.A. 

LATB 8CnOL.\.R OF ST. CVTHAKIX e'3 COLLEGE, C-VMCaiDGE. 




LONDON : 

L. BEEVE & CO., 

e, HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN 
1889. 



royDou : 

PBINTED BT GILBKET AND raTINGTON, riJIITEry, 
ST. JOHN'S HOrSE, CLEKKEN-WELI EOAD. 



CONTENTS. 



vr->.'X^'>./>yV'*»L/xr\/ 



1. The Liktu of Meklix; ov., The 

Child has found his Father 

{Auditor unhwicn) 1 

2. The Life and Death of Thomas Lord 

Cromwell . . . .149 



INTRODUCTION 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 



THE TEXT OF THE PRESENT EDITIOX. 

This play was first published by Kirkman and 
Marsh, in 1GG2, one of the most slovenly editions 
that ever issued from the press. The blank verse 
is printed therein as prose, and the task of 
restoring the original verse is by no means easy 
as the orthography is anything but trustworthy, 
words being abbreviated where the verse required 
the full form and vice versa ; the tenses altered ; 
explanatory words incorporated witli the text, 
and the stage directions sometimes tacked on to 
the dialogue. In 1869 this play appeared in a 
volume entitled Doiibtful Plays of the Tauchnitz 
odition. The text of the present edition is that of 
the edition of 1662, but, as this series is, in the 
main, intended for the million, a compromise has 
been attempted in this way. The spelling has 
been modernized, and the obvious misj^rints and 
errors of the original text have been corrected. 

B 



2 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

AVith these exceptions,, scholars may rely on this 
edition as an accurate reprint of the edition of 
1GG2. In the task of restoring the text, the 
editor has derived material assistance from the 
German translation of the play in Lndwig Tieck's 
."^hakesi^eare's VorschuJe (1823). In this admir- 
able version the clown is permitted to speak 
once or twice in blank verse, and the words in 
question will scan no doubt, as a great deal of 
prose will ; but we have tied the clown to prose 
on all occasions, as the clowns seldom talked in 
blank verse, which the Elizabethan dramatists 
seem to consider as too respectable an instrument 
for these interesting gentry. 

ANALYSIS OF THE PLAY. 

The play opens admirably. Donobert, a 
British nobleman, had two daughters, Constantia 
and Modestia, the contrast between whose charac- 
ters is well drawn. Constantia accepted the 
hand of Cador, Earl of Cornwall. Eord Edwin, 
the son of the Earl of Gloster, endeavoured to 
persuade her sister to consent to become his wife. 
Modestia was of a pious temperament. Success 
did not crown Edwin's negotiations, for all that 
she could be induced to promise him was that, 
if she ever changed her virgin name, it should 
be for his ; but no sooner was her suitor's back 
turned than she broke out into a fervent eulogy 
of a nun's life : she said, — 



BIRTH OP MERLIN. 3 

" These models of tlie world, weak man and 
woman, 
Should have their souls, their making, life and 

being, 
To some more excellent use," than marriage. 
She concluded her soliloquy by vowing to 
dedicate her love to 

"that Power 
That gave to man his being, speech and wisdom. 
Gave it for thankfulness." 

In the second scene we learn that the loss of 
Prince Uter, King Aurelius' brother, was filling 
the whole court with concern and anxiety. In 
the midst of these regrets, fears and attempts at 
cheerfulness, the Saxon Ambassadors arrived tc 
negotiate a thirty days' truce. The Britons, to 
a man, w^ere averse to all negotiations with the 
pagans ; and in this they were supported by a 
reverend hermit who by his miraculous powers 
had enabled the routed British troops to rally 
and defeat their Saxon conquerors. King Aure- 
lius was neutral, but willing to listen to the 
conditions which the Saxons were prepared to 
accept. But the mouthpiece of the Saxon em- 
bassy w^as Artesia, a great beauty and " a moving 
orator." Aurelius was by her thrown into a 
struggle between patriotism and love, in which 
love asserted, as it generally does, its irresistible 
might. The enmity of the Saxons was for- 
gotten, the tongue of his councillors peremptorily 
B 2 



4 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

silenced, the duty he owed to his country for- 
f^otten, as he addressed his enchantress : — 
'* Most fair Artesia, see the king descends 

To give tliee Avelcome with these warlike 
Saxons, 

And now on equal terms both sues and grants. 

Instead of truce, let a perpetual league 

Seal our united blood in holy marriage." 

The hermit is treated with the respect due to 
his sacred office and great service. " Stand 
further i'roni destruction," says the hermit : the 
king replies, " Speak as a man and I shall hope 
to obey thee." The hermit's denunciations could 
not shake the obstinacy of the royal captive, who 
thought to silence this sacred Jeremiah by a most 
naive and charming appeal to his manhood : he 
said : — 

" Cast but thine eye 
Upon this beauty. Do it : I will forgive thee, 
Though jealousy in others finds no pardon : 
Then say thou dost not love ; I shall then swear 
Thou art immortal and no earthly man." 

The passage of the king from the moorings of 
patriotism and hatred of the Saxon name to for- 
gctfulness of his duty as a king and to a complete 
surrender of his entire being, body and soul, to 
the fair ambassador, as well as Artesia's dignity 
amid the insults of the British king's councillors, 
her clever diplomacy and her self-confidence 
growing as the monarch's love became more and 



BIRTH OF MERLIN. D 

more manifest, are so admirably portrayed as to 
entirely deserve Tieck's praise — " This scene is 
masterly " (^^ Diese scene ist meisterhaft "). 

The second act brings the reader face to face 
■with a fresh and genuine comic character. A 
demon Incubus had fallen in love with a daughter 
of Eve, named Joan'of the Gotoot family, residing 
at Carmarthen, and, in consequence of what had 
passed, Joan was now wandering about the woods 
where she had once met her lover. Her com- 
jianion was a hilarious, but none the less sympa- 
thetic, wag of a brother. As poor Joan knew 
not her lover's name, could, in fact, only tell the 
clown that her seducer " had a most rich attire, 
a fair hat and feather, a gilt sword, and most 
excellent hangers/' the search soon resolved 
itself into an examination of every "two-legged 
creature " whom they met, "for the child must 
have a father." The first person met in the 
woods by Joan and her brother was none other 
than Prince Uter, who was searching in the same 
place for some great beauty who there passed him 
and ran away with his heart. The prince is in 
the insanity of love^ and longs for some listener 
to whom he might praise the unknown lady's 
charms : — 

" Could I but meet a man to tell her beauties. 
These trees would bend their tops to kiss the air 
That from my lips should give her praises up." 

Aurelius has surrendered himself more and more 



6 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

into the hands of the Saxons, who have already 
engrossed the larger share of public offices, and 
have been the means of disbanding the British 
army under Edol, an impetuous but brave Celt, 
who, in argument, could no more control his 
tongue than he could keep his sword from killing 
on the field of battle. Edol will not see the 
king, but freely opens his mind to the British 
statesmen, whom he rates for not killing that 
woman. The astonished statesmen exclaim, 
" My lord ! " But Edol stands to his guns : he 
replies, — 

" The great devil take me, quick ! Had I been by, 
And all the women of the world were barren, 
She should have died ere he had married her 
On these conditions." 

Edol then left the Court, and made for Chester, 
whence he might be able to lend aid to his 
country in her troubles. 

After the hermit had nonplussed the Saxon 
magician in an extremely effective scene from a 
dramatic point of view, the long-lost prince Uter 
is announced, who is cordially welcomed by 
Aurelius as though he had received him back 
from the dead. The king asks Artesia to give 
his brother welcome. She did so. Uter thus 
began his replv : — 

" 'Tis she ; 
'Tis she, I swear ! Oh, ye good gods, 'tis she ! " 



BIUTH OF MERLIN. 7 

He thouglit he liad at length attained his object, 
eagerly sought the beauty's name, and expressed 
to Aureliiis the fond hopes he cherished with 
regard to her. The king takes liter's words as 
compliments to Artesia, without perceiving, or 
without caring to perceive, where they had their 
source, and observes, — 

*' She is all the good or virtue thou canst name, 
My wife, my queen." 

Never was love's garrulous eloquence so efFec- 
tively extinguished as by those four words, " my 
Avife, my queen." Artesia, the unknown beauty 
he was searching for, was married ! The moral 
being of Prince liter is there and then divided 
against itself, virtue and love struggling within 
him, love obtaining a powerful ally from Artesia's 
looks, manner, and her words, who, when retiring 
from comjiany with her husband, said to liter: — 

" Could you speak so, 
I would not fear how much my grief clid grow." 

And she wrung him by the hand. While the 
prince was pondering these things in his mind, 
and asking himself whether Artesia may not 
have repented of her marriage and was in love 
with him, and while he, virtue triumphing and 
conquering evil thoughts and evil desires, was 
singing the song of victory, — 

" Heaven pardon me ! 
She's banished from my bosom now for ever," — 



8 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

Artesia's gentle\voman came to the prince, gave 
him a ring, a present of affection from her mis- 
tress. AVas h love, or was it mischief, that 
caused the queen to act thus toAvards her brother- 
in-law ? Uter resolves to sift the matter to the 
"bottom. The gentlewoman promises to effect a 
meeting between the two. The scene closes 
with a soliloquy of Uter's, and it is impossible 
to tell the state of his heart and mind. Is it 
passion or virtue, love or mischief? It is a 
combination of all, but which predominates there 
is no telling. Literature can show few, if any, 
scenes more effective — none where the effect has 
been gained by more simple means. It is a 
triumph of artless art. 

In the third act we find Modestia immovably 
vowed to single life. Her father, relying on the 
power of envy, arranged the marriage ceremony 
of her sister so as to arouse that feeling in 
Modestia's heart. But honey cannot be extracted 
from a stone. Modestia did not envy Constantia, 
but she was hurt that, according to orders, her 
dear sister passed without speaking. She would 
be more charitable. The sisters converse. Old 
Donobert is beginning to flatter himself that his 
trick is working the desired effect. Constantia^s 
arguments for marriage are what might be ex- 
pected to have most influence on a woman's 
heart. She asks Modestia, — 

" What say you to that, sister, 
The joy of children, a blest mother's nameT' 



BIRTH OF MEKLIX. 9 

Modestia answers characteristically, and con- 
cludes her pious pessimism — 

"At Lest we do but bring forth heirs to die 
And fill the coflins of our enemy." 

The effect of Donobert's trick was the reverse of 
what he had anticipated. She who was to be 
conquered by envy conquered by lier virtue. 
She who was to con([uer was conquered. Instead 
of having two daughters married, Donobert lost 
both, for both went to a nunnery. 

Joan and her brother are still prosecuting^ 
their search. They encounter a courtier, Sir 
Nicodemus Nothing. The dialogue between the 
Gotoots and this worthy is comedy of the highest 
order. Though his advice was, under the cir- 
cumstances, of no value, yet he kept the clown's 
two angels, the loss of -which rendered it im- 
possible for the Gotoots to continue their search. 
It was not necessary. The father of Joan's child 
voluntarily came forward, ushered in by the 
pomp of sonorous poetry as became the dignity 
of his Satanic majesty, took measures to have 
Joan properly attended to in her confinement, 
and found a suitable midwife in Hecate. During 
her preternatural confinement, Joan lost sight of 
her brother, who was very anxious, until he saw 
her approach him, accompanied by her baby, 
^[erliii, who v/alked by her side, a beard on his 
face, a book in his hand. After the clown had 
been introduced to his brother-in-law, who created 



10 INTEODUCTION TO THE 

on him an impression the reverse of favourable, 
the Gotoots and Merlin, acting under the direc- 
tions given them by the Devil, proceed towards 
Wales, where Merlin may have an opportunity of 
showing his skill. 

Meanwhile Ostorius and Octa,the Saxon chiefs, 
are busily translating their plots into action; send- 
ing the disgraced magician Proximus to urge King 

o o o o o 

Yortiger to join his forces with the Saxons with 
all possible expedition ; and bringing their own 
guards nearer the royal palace, wherein Artesia 
and Uter were enjoying that conference which 
the queen's gentlewoman had negotiated between 
them. It was a most dramatic conference most 
effectively described. Even yet the prince was 
hovering between virtue and love. Artesia, the 
reader perceives, cherished in her heart nothing 
but mischief, but, even in this scene, she wears 
the mask of love with consummate skill. What 
can surpass this instance 1 She kissed the prince, 
and then darkly hinted that, if she were convinced 
of his faith, she would yield her honour to him. 
Uter declared that he would suffer martyrdom 
sooner than betray her. Enough : Artesia was 
satisfied, and immediately called on Aurelius for 
help. Uter resolved to end her treachery in her 
blood. Perceiving his intention and alarm, she 
asks astonished, — 

*' How now 1 What troubles you 1 Is this you, 
sir, 
That but even now would suffer martyrdom 



IJIKTH OF MERLIN. 11 

To win your hopes *? And is there now such 

terror 
In names of men to fright you 1 " 

Uter was satisfied, and, liis virtuous asides not- 
withstanding, he clearly showed that virtue was 
not yet restored to its sovereignty over him. As 
soon as his declarations of love became, if over- 
heard, compromising enough, Artesia, in real ear- 
nest, exclaimed, ''Treason, treason !" The Saxons 
rush in, but Uter was rescued by the Britisli, 
under the command of Edol, who had armed his 
retainers in defence of his country in spite of tlic 
prohibition whicli the king, now the tool of tlie 
iSaxons, had issued. After some military blus- 
tering on the part of Edol, the two brothers 
Aurelius and Uter separate, the one casting in 
his lot with the Saxons, the other, like the 
patriot that he was, devoting himself to the 
defence of the Britons, and so this most power- 
ful act ends. 

The fourth act shows us ^lerlin, attended by 
a little antic spirit, nominally under tlie protec- 
tion of Uncle Gotoot, journeying Wales ward, 
and on the journey Merlin and his antic play 
tricks on the clown, who expresses the hope that 
his cousin's beard had not overgrown his 
honesty. Immediately after this boyishness, 
]\Ierlin gave a display of his preternatural powers 
by exposing the clown's lucrative motives, and 
by detailing the state of things at the court of 
King Vortiger. Almost ere his uncle had ceased 



12 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

admiring his prodigious knowledge, the boy- 
prophet expressed his apprehension of that Court 
"where his Llood was sought for, the blood of a 
child born without a father. AVhile the clown 
was calming his fears, because nobody would 
take him with such a beard to be a child, Yor- 
tiger's messengers, sent to seek for such a 
fatherless child, came upon the party, who were 
soon after followed, on the same errand, by 
Vortiger and the magician Proximus. Merlin's 
mother was questioned concerning the birth of 
her son. She narrated, in the most natural and 
telling manner, the story of her fall, which hav- 
ing heard, Vortiger began to speculate on the 
nature of Joan's seducer. The boy-prophet, 
with great dignity, recalled the royal mind from 
such idle and irrelevant disquisitions about his 
father: — 

" "No matter who, my'^Lord ; leave further cj^uest. 
Since 'tis as hurtful as unnecessary 
iSIore to enquire. Go to the cause, my Lord, 
Why you have sought me thus. " 

The king explained, and Proximus^ standing by, 
eagerly claimed the honour of having given that 
advice. Merlin, in turn, advised Proximus to 
write his epitaph, as there was only a minute 
betwixt him and death. The Saxon magician 
laughed, but a stone from the roof ended at the 
same time his laughter and life. The clown 
gave expression to the general wonder in these 



BlRin OF MERLIN. 13 

words : — *^ Cousin Merlin, iliere's no more 
of this stone fruit ready to fall, is tliere 1 I 
pray give your uncle a little fair warning." 
Merlin then explained to Yortiger the reason 
how the night buried what was built of his 
castle in the day, reproved the king for murder- 
iiig Constantius, and for inviting the Saxons, 
and foretold his doom. 

Meanwhile Uter and his Britons were on the 
march against Yortiger, so that he might be 
ciiished before the Saxons could effect a junc- 
tion with him. A terrible meteor appeared in 
the sky which Merlin was sent for to interpret. 
Having looked at the blazing star, he M'ept, not 
only because he read its far-off record, but be- 
cause at that very moment King Aurelius died, 
poisoned by Artesia. The Lritons, advised by 
Merlin, marched, burning for revenge, against 
the Saxons. 

The fifth act opens admirably. The Devil 
came to visit Joan again, she loathed him now. 
lie pleaded that he was still the same, but she 
confessed that she was changed. From entreaty 
the Devil proceeded to threats : Joan begged 
death to come and release her. The furies and 
the devil-obeying spirits, at the word of com- 
mand, assemble. Joan utters as piercing a 
prayer as was ever syllabled by the lips of peni- 
tence : — 

" Help me, some saving hand ! 

If not too late, I cry : Let Mercy come. 



14 li^TRODUCTION TO THE 

That cold abstraction "was deaf, but Merlin heard 
the cries of his mother and promptly came to 
her rescue, which he speedily effected, to his 
father's great disgust, who asked, — 

" Keliev'st thou her to disobey thy father ? " 

Merlin's reply is beyond praise for its calm 
dignity and its elevation of thought : — 

" Obedience is no lesson in your school. 
Xature and kind to her commands my duty. 
The i^art that you begot was against kind." 

The Devil storms and threatens. Merlin exer- 
cises his spells against his father, a rock obedi- 
ently opens its jaws and swallows the Devil, so 
that he shall never " touch a woman more.'' 
After this victory over his father^ he turned to 
console his mother, for whom he offered a resi- 
dence in Merlin's Bower_, there by groans and 
sighs in solitude to purge her of the stains of 
sin, and over her remains he promised to raise a 
more than royal sepulchre, to wit, the megalithie 
enigma of Stonehenge. 

The British troops defeated the Saxons, 
Ostorius slain, Octa fled, Artesia a captive. The 
king called in accordance with Merlin's inter- 
pretation of the blazing star, liter Pendragon, is 
seated on his throne, before him the new dragon 
standard, and his own new dragon shield, and 
receives the congratulations of his nobles. To 
make his joy complete he demands the in- 



BIRTH or MERLIN. 15 

stant pimisliment of Artesia. One suggests 
that she slioiikl be burned. Edol extends his 
vindictivenesseven to the dead body. The king 
decides that lier doom shall be to be buried 
alive. But the coolest and least concerned of 
all the actors was Artesia : she laughs at their 
refinement of vindictiveness, and asks derisively 
Avhether the Britons had not a better torture- 
monger than Edol. "When she heard her doom 
from the prince's lips, she coolly observed : — 

" Then I'll starve death when he comes for his 
pi-ey, 
And i' til' meantime I'll live upon your curses." 

Amid cries of " Away with her," she was con- 
ducted to her living tomb, dauntless woman, 
glorying in the crime she had done^ regretting 
what she had failed to do, on behalf of her loved 
Saxons, — 

^" With joy, my best of wishes is before ; 
The brother's poisoned, but I wanted more." 

Here the play should end, and, though what 
follows is not much, yet it is both outside the 
action of the drama and exceedingly flat as an 
ending to a play of such superior excellence in 
general, and as a conclusion to the masterly 
scene in which Artesia meets her horrid doom 
as unconcerned as she would go to bed. 



16 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

MERITS OF THE PLAY. 

The prominent features of the phiy are 
naturahiess and simplicity, which never abandon 
the author, even where the effect is the result of 
consummate art. Tlie plot is most ingenious and 
skilfully constructed. The reader's interest in 
the chief characters is maintained from the 
beginning to the end. The situations are ex- 
tremely effective and dramatic, but there is 
never a deviation from nature or any straining 
after effect. In order to perceive the truth of 
this, let the reader turn to act iv. sc. 5, where 
Merlin interprets the meaning of the blazing 
star. The clown was getting obstructive, so 
that his nephew was obliged to tie his uncle's 
tongue, which, until released by Merlin, could 
utter nothing more than, '' Hum ! hum ! hum ! "' 
These exclamations of the clown are introduced 
most effectively, both as pauses in Merlin's long 
speech, and as notes of admiration at the con- 
tents of that remarkable interpretation. The 
effect on Uter of those simple words, "My wife, 
my queen" has been already pointed out. To 
bring out the effective simplicity of our poet 
still more, compare the speech Shakespeare puts 
into the mouth of Henry V. before Harfleur and 
Prince liter's simple statement to the inquiries 
of his nobles respecting Yortiger's fate, act 
iv. sc. 4 : — 

" Proud Yortiger beat down by Edol's sv/ord 



BIRTH OF MERLIN. 17 

Was rescued by llie folloM'iii^; iiuiltitud-s : 
And now for safety's fled unto a castle 
Here standing on the hill : but I have sent 
A cry ofltoumU as viuh-nt as hunger 
To break his stomj /raUs." 

Henry Y.'s speech almost makes one laugh — it 
is bombastic : Uter's enlists respect — it is the 
speech of a natural man who means what he says. 
There are many poetical gems scattered up and 
down this play, such as ]\[odestia's solilo(|uy 
(act i. sc. l),in which she concludes that man 
and woman were born for higher purposes than 
love and marriage ; Prince Uter's apostrophe to 
the beauty of his unknown charmer (act ii. sc. 1); 
^lodestia's pessimism (act iii. sc. 2) ; Joan's 
narrative of her youthful pride and her fall (act 
iv. sc. 1) ; ^Merlin's answer to his father, when 
the latter rebuked him for disobedience (act v. 
sc. 1). 

The characters arc admirably drawn. Mo- 
dcstia is a fine representative of the triumph of 
the spiritual over the corporeal. Artesia lives 
for others and for country ; hers the impersonal 
existence of the true patriot : and, though her 
patriotism led her to commit a flagrant crime, 
yet, when she finally leaves the stage, dauntless 
amid the barbarous vindictiveness of her enemies, 
smiling as she walks, in the bloom of her beauty, 
to the tomb — all for country's sake, she awakens 
sympathy in the reader. Prince Uter is an 

c 



18 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

admirable psychological study ; a perfect picture 
of those "svho have been dazzled by that beauty 
Avhich speaks from the eye to the eye, only to be 
maddened at perceiving the amazing corruption 
of the beauty's heart ; of those who have gazed 
on the luscious apple whose rind contains nothing 
but ashes. Like liter, these lovers in the morn- 
ing sing, under the trees of the forest, passion's 
exaggerated lyrics in praise of their beauties, 
while, in the evening, they bury them alive or 
hang them to the trees that heard the eulogy. 

But Merlin ! Who can worthily describe this 
wonderful creation 1 Note his character — a baby 
with the beard and wisdom of a man ; a child- 
prophet, a boy wonder-worker ; natural on the 
mother's side, on his father's preternatural. 
Mark his actions and words, and it will be 
observed that they do violence to none of the 
apparently contradictory elements which con- 
stitute his being. He needs no cradle or nursing : 
the first time ho appears before the audience he 
is reading. On the road with his uncle, he plays 
as mortal children play ; the next moment he 
soars on the wings of prophecy, only to descend, 
soon after, to fear for his little life as other 
children would fear in similar circumstances. 
He corrects a king's inquisitiveness, and respect- 
fully begs his Majesty to come to the question. 
Now he dreaded this king; now he fearlessly 
rebuked him for his crimes, and related to the 
monarch his doom, a doom not always safe to 



BIRTH OF MERLIN. 19 

utter in royal ears. Above tlie need of eartlily 
protectors, yet he weeps for the untimely end of 
good Aurelius, He liad cost his motlier nothing 
to bring lip, nor was he likely to need her future 
protection, but, like a dutiful son, he ran to her 
rescue in the day of danger more promptly than 
mercy, and put an insurmountable barrier between 
the teacher of disobedience and woman from that 
time forth for ever. It may be pretty safely 
asserted that literature can show no more perfect 
creation than the Merlin of our author, and the 
means adopted for that purpose are so simple 
and 60 natural that one is tempted to say, how- 
ever Hibernian the expression may sound, that 
even its preternaturalness is exceedingly natural. 

WHO WAS THE AUTHOU ? 

In the edition of 1662, the play is ascribed to 
W. Rowley and W. Shakespeare. This W. 
Eowley was an actor, and produced many plays, 
either in collaboration with others or composed 
by himself. Four of his own plays have been 
preserved, viz. A Womaji never Vext, A Match 
at Midnight, AlVs Lost by Lust, A Shoemaker a 
Gentleman. There are two views respecting the 
authorship of our play, one of which is that of 
the edition of 1662, the other that of English 
critics from Malone to the present day. Ludwig 
Ticck is inclined to accept the Kowley and 
Shakespeare authorship. Professor Ward denies 
c 2 



20 INTEODUCTION TO THE 

that Shakespeare had anything to do with it. 
I agree with the learned professor, but I am 
bound to say that my agreement with liim is a 
case of cum Wardio non propter Wardium, be- 
lieving as I do with Tieck that it would be no 
degradation to Shakespeare to have assisted in 
the composition of thi§ play. (" Dass sich Shake- 
speare wohl, ohne sich zu erniedrigen^ mit ihrn 
vereinigen konnte.") On the other hand, I 
cannot think that W. Rowley was capable, un- 
assisted, of producing it, nay, I doubt whether 
"W. Rowley had any more to do with it thaa 
Shakespeare, and for the following reasons : — 

W. Rowley was a writer of comedies ; on other 
dramatic ground he never ventured^ unless sup- 
ported by another writer. But in our play the 
serious parts are far more numerous and^ to the 
action, far more important than the comedy, of 
which the clown is practically the sole repre- 
sentative. Further, the best of "\V. Rowley's 
comedies is admitted to be the ]Voma?i never 
Vext, an excellent play, to be sure, but in which 
we cannot discern the slightest trace of the 
hand or hands that wrote the Birth of Merlin. 
The latter play is natural, as we said, even in its 
preternaturalness : the former is a perpetual 
violation of nature. The latter achieves its striking 
effects by the simplest means ; the former attains 
the same end by means as complicated as un- 
natural. Nay, more ; the clown in the Woman 
never Vext is elaborate and artificial, while the 



BIRTH OF MERLIN. 21 

Clown Gotoot talks liis own language : the 
former exerts himself to he funny, the latter is 
funny hy nature. The comedy of the Woman 
never Vext i^, indeed, just what one might ex- 
jicct from the pen of an actor whose literary 
faculty was not equal to his perception of 
dramatic effectiveness : the comedy of our play 
is the natural production of a literary genius. 
If this criticism be sound, as I Lelieve it is sound, 
the name of the author of the Birth of Merlin 
is neither W. "Rowley nor "W. Shakespeare. 

THE LANGUAGE OF OUR AUTHOR. 

External evidence wanting, recourse must be 
had to internal evidence. The language of our 
author proves him to be a sound classical scliolar. 
Merlin's magic formula (act vi. sc. 1) is couched 
iw elegant Latinit}'. Up and down the play 
there are not wanting indications that a classical 
training had influenced the style and diction of 
our author. The use of the abstract for the 
concrete is not only frequent, but, unless I am 
mistaken, the abstractions are particularly Greek, 
e.g.— 

(i) '^ Give way 

And life to this abortive birth now coming." 

(Act iii. sc. 3.) 

(ii) " The mother of a fame, shall never die." 

(Act v. sc. 1.) 



22 INTEODUCTION TO THE 

We meet with instances of the construction Kara 
orvv€cnv ; e.g. :— 

" . . . the white horror ; wlio now, knit to- 
gether, 
Have driven and shut you up in these wild 
mountains." 

(Act iv. sc. 1.) 

Not to mention phrases which are the least 
doubtful with regard to the correct explanation 
thereof^ this play presents us with the following 
sentence, an unquestionable Hellenism : — 

" What's mine in her, speaks yours." 

(Act i. sc. 1.) 

"We see the influence of the classical languages 
on our poet in the use of single words, as in the 
word local in this line : — 

^^ And fix thee ever in the local fire." 

(Act V. sc. 1.) 

The language, therefore, and style of our author 
exclude Shakespeare, and, to judge from his own 
plays, W. Rowley as well, from the authorship 
of the Birth of Merlin. 

THE author's OPINIOXS. 

One is struck with the high moral tone that, 
speaking generally, pervades this play. A life 
of holy seclusion from the world is warmly 
praised, if, indeed, it be not regarded as the 



BIRTn OP MERLIN. 23 

ideal life. Tliu hermit and Modeatia are eveiy- 
\vliere treated with marked respect and reverence. 
Sympathy is, indeed, enlisted for Donobert, 
Avliose hopes of a posterity are nipped by the 
spiritual devotion of his daughters, but not a 
•word or phrase is used that can ])y any ingenuity 
be twisted to convey disapprobation of their 
conduct. When tlie resolution of the daughters 
carried them at length witliin the walls of the 
nunnery whose gates shut them out for ever from 
the Avorld, Cador, who was all but married to 
one of them, and who saw them enter the 
monastery "secluded from the world and men 
for ever," does not inveigh against the sisters, 
but rather looks upon them as having done a 
deed that required more than ordinary virtue to 
perform; and, speaking for himself and Lord 
Edwin, he says, " 'Tis both our griefs we can- 
not," i.e. like them, seclude ourselves from the 
world and men. The spirit of rationalism which 
was spreading at the time when the play was 
written was to the author an abomination. To 
liim it was " Atheism," and to him Atheism was 
founded on falsehood. In politics he was an 
advocate of the opinion that to the king's will 
there was no check known. Aurelius married a 
pagan. It was, even from the writer's stand- 
l)oint, a very wrong thing to do. Eut all the 
king's councillors are represented, in the scene 
with Edol, as being unanimous in their opinion 
^hat they neither could, nor dared, oppose tho 



24 INTRODUCTION TO THE 

royal will. Even EJol recognized the aLsolutc 
power of the king when he declared that, if he 
were on the spot, he would have prevented the 
marriage : how 1 hy controlling the king ] Xo, 
"but by killing the pagan woman. Aurelius 
suffered for the impolitic step he took, but not 
at the hands of his subjects. He was punished 
by the Almighty, who alone could punish His 
anointed one. 

THE DATE OF THE PLAY. 

Tieck, tliinking that our play is an early work 
of Shakespeare's, who_, he believes, assisted W. 
liowley to improve and prepare it for the stage 
towards the close of the great poet's life, assigns 
the date of the play to the year 1613 or there- 
abouts, for no other reason, apparently, than the 
fact that Shakespeare died next year, ^ow, 
although the play is called The Birth of Merlin, 
or The Child has found his Father, a far more 
suitable title for it, as estimated by the main 
action of the drama, would be The Saxon Mar- 
riage, or The Pagan Marriage. This is the 
backbone of the play, to which the story of 
Merlin is attached naturally, but as a subordinate 
part, while the part of the daughters of Donobert 
is to emphasize a jDrinciple of Church discij^line 
Avhich, unless the j^lay was written for a purpose, 
is irrelevant, as, beautiful though many of 
those religious scenes are, it is a dead weight on 



BIRTH OF MERLIJf. 25 

tJie action of the drama — an artistic failuro 
\vliicli can liardly be explained, except on. the 
byj)othesi.s that this play was ^vritten for a 
political and ecclesiastical object ; for we take it 
that our author was too natural and simple in 
his poetical taste, and too impeccable in his in- 
tuitive perception of dramatic unity, to sacrifice 
what from his point of view must have been 
regarded as the higliest art, unless for the attain- 
ment of another object, wliich from a, to him, 
higher standpoint, must have been considered 
of paramount importance. 

May not tlie Saxon marriage of King Aurelius 
be typical of the Spanish marriage for which 
James I. struggled so much'? Now, from 1614 
to 1623, the political parties in England might 
be better described by the names Spanish and 
anti-Spanish than perhaps by any other names. 
In 1623 Prince Charles and Buckingham returned 
from Spain amid such rejoicings and enthusiasm 
as were seldom witnessed in England^ the Spanish 
marriage being completely knocked on the head. 
If our hypothesis be correct, the date of this play 
is to be sought somewhere about this period, 
1614-23. 

The ecclesiastical object, may it not have been 
an advocacy of the opinions of the High Church 
l^arty, which became a power in the State under 
the leadership of Laud, and which aimed at 
assimilating the Church service and discipline 
more and more with the Roman Catholic 1 Now 



20 INTEODUCTION TO THE 

though the supremacy of this party in the 
Church dates from Laud, the party had been 
active before Laud stepped to the front. The 
ecclesiastical yiew also directs us to seek the 
date of the play in the same period, 1614-23, 
but much nearer 1623 than 1614. 

In Act iii. scene 6, Prince L'ter protests to 
Artesia that, if he should deny that he appre- 
ciated her confidence, he would be " more false 
than atheism can be." Xow, the word "atheism" 
is not found in Shakesj^eare's works, nor can I 
recall any allusion or reference in his works to 
what was meant by the term. In his plays we 
come across the word Infidel — "Lorenzo and his 
infidel." " Xow, infidel, I have thee on the hip " 
{Merchant of Venice)', "Turks and infidels'^ 
{Richard II.), where the term denotes members 
of a non-Christian church, not those who denied 
all revealed religions. Shakespeare ceased to 
write after 1611, according to some after 1608. 
Probably the rationalist movement had not up to 
this time become of sufficient public importance 
to attract his attention. But soon after his 
death it became an important factor in English 
thought. In 1623 appeared the De Yeritate of 
Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the first of our deistic 
philosophers. Xow, Lord Herbert Avas anything 
but an atheist in the literal acceptation of that 
term. He was a rationalist, and nobody but an 
unfair opponent or a professional theologian 
would brand his speculations with the oppro- 
brious mark of atheism. 



DIRTH OP MCKLIN, 27 

Putting all these suggestions together — tlio 
pagan marriage ; the joy of the people at the 
failure of the pagan intrigues, and the rescue of 
their prince; the strong High Church leanings 
of the author and his violent hatred of the 
spirit of rationalism Avhich M-as then spreading 
among English thinkers, and bearing in mind 
that the first deistical publication ai)peared in 
this country in 1623, in -which year also the 
Prince of AVales returned, amid the enthusiastic 
rejoicings of the people, from his perilous Spanish 
journey — we are inclined to think that this play 
lirst saw the VvAit in 1623-24. 



THE AUTHOR. 

The name of Shakespeare, attached to the 
edition of 1662, appears to us to be nothing 
more than a recognition of the merits of the play, 
and W. Rowley did not possess, as far as is 
known, the qualifications of our author^ who was 
a sound classical scholar, and probably a clergy- 
man. But how came the name of W. Kowley to 
be connected with the play 1 If our conjecture 
respecting the date of the play be well founded, 
only thirty-nine years at most elapsed between 
its first production and the edition of 1662, M'hilc 
AV. Kowley was alive in 1637, in which year he 
married. Put nothing can well be more certain 
than that W. Rowley could not write this play. 
Now, there was another dramatist of this period. 



28 INTKODUCTION TO THE 

named Ptal})!! Rowley; he was a clergyman ; ''a 
rare scholler of learned Pembroke Hall, in Cam- 
bridge ; " and deemed by Francis Mere?, Master 
of Arts of both Universities, one of England's 
best M'riters of comedy. In Ealph Rowley Ave 
think that the author of the Birtlt of Merlin 
has been found, and an exjjlanation arrived at 
of the ascription of the play to W. Rowley, 
who was a popular actor and playwright at 
least as late as 1637, that is to say, within 
twenty-five years of the publication of Kirkman 
and Marsh's edition. It is necessary to add that 
Messrs. Cooper, iwAtliencn Cantahrigienses^ assign 
the death of Ralph Rowley to the year 160^. It 
is not clear how this date has been arrived at. 
But if it be even approximately correct, this date 
effectually cancels the claims of Ralph Rowley to 
be regarded as the author of the play, the date 
of which, we are persuaded, cannot be earlier 
than 1623-24. 



THE VARIABLENESS OF THE LlTEFvARY STANDARD. 

Professor AVard, in his admirable volumes on 
English dramatic literature, though he warmly 
praises much of this play, calls it " rough and 
rude" in texture, and "coarse" in execution. 
l!Tow, these epithets would apply equally to more 
than one play of Shakespeare's. Rough and 
rude ! The people of the sixteenth and seven- 



EIRTII OF MERLIN. 29 

teenth centuries were less squeannsli tlmn we ; 
were not afraid of tlie sound of a word so long 
as it expressed their meaning ; and for this 
reason precisely their literature is more vigorous 
and natural, aye, more healthy than ours. Tlie 
charge of coarseness is surely a slip, because the 
tone of the play is highly, moral and religious. 
The cloNvn does say '' clownish " things ; so do 
Shakespeare's clowns : hut then plays are not 
condemned because the clown's flippancy offends 
the delicacy of our artificial century, any more 
than one virtuous character could redeem a really 
coarse play. The very phrases of our clown, 
which, it is presumed, oliend Professor Ward's 
delicacy, were the phrases used in that age by high 
and low ; were used by Princess ^Mary in a letter 
to the Queen Dowager in the reign of Edward 
the Sixth. Put we maintain that our clown is 
not only comical but natural, and, if he were 
coarse but natural, it were better to put up with 
his coarseness than load literature with shams 
and unrealities. From a literary point of view 
there are only two legitimate ways of dealing 
with rude, rough, and coarse people ; either let 
them speak their own rude, rough and coarse 
language, or eliminate them altogether. There 
is no third way : and it is better to have litera- 
ture one-sided than unnatural. 

CONCLUSION. 

After reading the Birth of Merlin and finding 



30 INTRODUCTION TO THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

it to be so rich in plot, in execution so humorous 
and felicitous, Ludwig Tieck was surjmsed that 
it had not made more impression on the age in 
M'hich it was produced, and that the English 
who, at the time when the distinguished critic 
MTote, were republishing many gems of their old 
literature, had not issued a popular edition of this 
admirable drama. It is to be hoped that this 
edition will meet the want here complained of, 
and bring to the knowledge of the people this 
unique literary production. 

The notes are' intended for the million, with 
the exception of one or two suggested emen- 
dations of the text, to which your attention, 
Mr. Critic, is respectfully called and, 

" Si quid novisti rectius istis 
Candidus imperti, si non his utere mecum." 

T. Evan Jacob. 
London, 1889. 



DRAMATIS PERSONS. 



AuRELirs, King of Britain. 

VOETIGER, King of Britain. 

Uter Pknokago.v, IJrother to Aurelius. 

DoxoBERT, A Nobleman, Father to Constantia and 

Modestia. 
Earl of Glostkr, Father to Edwyn. 
Edol, Earl of Chester, General to King Aurelius. 
Cador, Earl of Cornwall, Suitor to Constantia, 
Edwyn, Son of Earl of Gloster aud Suitor to Modestia. 

OswAL^, ) '^^^^ Noblemen. 

Merlix, 'J'he Prophet. 

Anselme, The Hermit, after Bishop of Winchester. 

Clown, Brother to Joan, Mother of Merlin. 

Sir Nicodemus Notuing, A Courtier. 

The Devil, Father of Merlin. 

OsTORius, the Saxon General. 

OcTA, a Saxon Nobleman. 

PuoxiMUS, a Saxon Magician. 

Artesia, Sister to Ostox-ius. 

T\r^\ ^^J;.. * > Daughters to Donobert. 
Modestia, ) ° 

Joan Go-Too't, Mother of Merlin. 

LuciXA, Queen of the Shades. 

A Waiting-woman to Artesia. 

Two Bishops. Two Saxon Lords. Two of Edol's 

Captains. 

Two Gentlemen. A little Antic Spirit. 

The SCENE— Britain. 



THE BIRTE OF MERLIN; 

OR, 

THE CniLD II ATII FOUND HIS FATHER 



ACT L 

Scene I. 
Enter Donobert, Gloster, Cador, Edwix, 

CONSTANTIA aUil MoDESTIA. 

Cador. You teach me language, sir, as one 
that knows 
Tlie debt of love I owe unto their virtues, 
Wherein like a true courtier I have fed 
Myself with hope of fair success, and now 
Attend your wished consent to my long suit. 

Bon. Believe me, youthful Lord, 
Time could not give an opportunity 
i^Iore fitting your desires, always provided 
My daughter's love be suited with my grant. 

Cador. 'Tis the condition, sir, her promise 
sealed. 

Don. Is't so, Constantia ? 

D 



34 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Const. I was content to give Lim words for 
oaths ; 
He swore so oft he loved me. 

Don. That thou believest him 1 

Const. He is a man, I hope. 
Don. That's in the trial, girl. 

Const. However, I'm a woman_, sir. 
Don. The law's on thy side then, shalt have 
a husband, 
Aye, and a worthy one. Take her, brave Corn- 
wall, 
And make our happiness great as our wishes. 
Cador. Sir^ I thank you. 
Glost. Double the fortunes of the day, my 
Lord, 
And crown my wishes too : I have a son here, 
AVho in my absence would protest no less 
Unto your other daughter. 

Don. Ha, Gloster, is it so ? what says Lord 
Edwin 1 
Will she protest as much to thee 1 

Eclirin Else must she want some of her 

sister's faith, sir. 
Modest. Of her credulity much ratlier, sir. 
My Lord, you are a soldier, and methinks 
The height of that profession should diminish 
All heat of love's desires, being so late 
Employed in blood and ruin. 

Edwin. The more my conscience ties me to 
repair 
The world's losses in a new succession. 



THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 35 

Modest. Necessity, it seems, ties your affec- 
tions then, 
And, at that rate, I would unwillingly 
lie thrust upon you ; a wife's a dish soon cloys, 
sir. 
Edwin. Weak and diseased appetites it may. 
Moded. Most of your making have dull 

stomachs, sir. 
Don, If that be all, girl, thou shalt quicken 
him. 
Be kind to him, Modestia. Noble Edwin, 
Let it suffice, what's mine in her, speaks yours.' 
For her consent^ let your fair suit go on ; 
She is a woman , sir, and will be won. 
Edwin. You give me comfort, sir. 

Enter Toclio. 
Bon. Now, Toclio? 

Toe. The King, my honoured Lords, requires 
your presence. 
And calls a council for return of answer 
Unto the parling enemy, whose ambassadors 
Are on the way to Court. 

Don. So suddenly 1 

Chester, it seems, has plied them hard at war. 
They sue so fast for peace, which, by my advice, 
They ne'er shall have, unless they leave the 
realm. 

^ WhaVs mine in her speaks yours, a very Greek 
sentence, which may be literally rendered into that 
language — to yhp ffxa \eyei to. era, 
D 2 



36 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Come, noble Gloster, let's attend the king ; 
It lies, sir, in your son to do me pleasure 
And save the charges of a wedding dinner. 
If you'll make haste to end your love affairs, 
One cost may give discharge to both my- 
cares. 

\_E.ceunt Don. and Glost. 

Edwin. I'll do my best. 

Cador. Now, Toclio_, what stirring news at 
Court ? 

Toe. Oh ! my Lord, the Court's all filled with 
rumour, the city with news, and the country 
with wonder, and all the bells i' th' kingdom 
must proclaim it : we have a new holyday a- 
coming. 

Const. A holyday ! for wdiom 1 for thee 1 

Toe. Me, Madam ! 'sfoot I'd be loath that any 
Man should make a holyday for me yet. 
In brief 'tis thus : there's here arrived at Court, 
Sent by the Earl of Chester to the king, 
A man of rare esteem for holiness, 
A reverend Hermit that by miracle 
Xot only saved our army. 
But without aid of man o'erthrew 
The pagan host and with such wonder, sir, 
As might confirm a kingdom to his faith. 

Edwin, This is strange news, indeed ; where 
is he ? 

Toe. In conference -with the king that much 
respects him. 



TEE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 37 

Modest. Trust me, I lon^ to see him. 
^'or. Faith, you will lind no great pleasure in 
him, for aught that I can see, lady, they say he 
is half a prophet, too. AVould he could tell 
me any news of the lost prince. There's twenty 
talents offered to him that finds him. 

Cador. Such news was breeding in the 

morning. 
2W. And now it has birth and life, sir. If 
fortune bless me, I'll once more search those 
woods where then we lost him. I know not 
yet what fate may follow me. 

[Ej'it. 
Cador. Fortune go with you, sir. Come^ fair 
mistress. 
Your sister and Lord Edwin are in game. 
And all their wits at stake to win the set. 

Const. My sister has the hand yet, wc had 
best leave them : 
She will be out anon as well as I ; 
He wants but cunning to put in a die. 

\_Kxcunt Cador and Const. 
JEdicln. You are a cunning gamester, Madam. 
Modest. It is a desperate game indeed, this 
marriage. 
Where there's no winning without loss to 
either. 
Edwin. Why, what but your perfection, noble 
lady, 
Can bar the worthiness of this my suit 1 



38 THE BIETH OF MERLIN. 

If SO you pluase, I count ni}' liaiDpiness 
From difficult obtaining ; " you shall see 
^M}^ duty and observance. 

Modest. There shall be place to neither, noble 

sir? 
I do beseech you, let this mild reply 
Give answer to your suit ; for here I vow 
If e'er I change my virgin name, by you 
It gains or loses. 

Edid7i. My wishes have their crown. 
Modest. Let them confine you then. 

As to my promise — you give faith and cre- 
dence ? 
Edwin. In your command my willing absence 

speaks it. [Exit. 

Modest. Noble and virtuous ! Could I dream 

of marriage, 
I should affect thee, Edwin. Oh, my soul ! 
Here's something tells me that these best of 

creatures, 
These models of the world, weak man and 

woman, 
Should have their souls, their making, life and 

being 
To some more excellent use. If what the sense 
Calls pleasure were our ends, we might justly 

blame 
Great nature's wisdom, who reared a building 
Of so much art and beauty to entertain 

^ From difficult oltainhtg, a Grecism (?), cf. Ik tcD 



THE BIIiTH OF ME KLIN. 39 

A giiest so far uncertain, so imperfect ; 
If only spcecli distinj^'uish us from beasts 
Who know no inequality of birth or phice, 
Eut still to lly from goodness ; oh, how Ixise 
Were life at such a rate ! No, no, that Power 
That gave to man his being, speech, and wis- 
dom 
Gave it for thankfulness. To him aluno 
That made me thus, may I thence truly know, 
I'll i^ay to him, not man, the love I owe. 

\_Exit. 



Scene II. 

[Floun'sJi of cornets. Enter Aurelius, King of 
Britain, Donobert, Glostee, Cador, 
Edwin, Toclio, Oswald, and Atten- 
dants.] 

Aiirel. No tiding of our brother yet ? 'Tis 
strange, 
So near the court and in our own land too, 
And yet no news of him. Oh, this loss 
Tempers the sweetness of our happy conquests 
AVith much untimely sorrow. 

Bon. Royal sir, 

His safety, being unquestioned, should to time 
Leave the redress of sorrow. Were he dead, 
Or taken by the foe, our fatal loss 
Had wanted no quick herald to disclose it. 

Aurel. That hope alone sustains me, 



40 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Nor will we be so ungrateful unto heaven, 
To question what we fear with what we enjoy. 
Is answer of our message yet returned 
From that religious man, the holy hermit, 
8ent by the Earl of Chester to confirm us 
In that miraculous act 1 For 'twas no less, 
Our army being in rout, nay, quite o'erthrown. 
As Chester writes ; even then, this holy man 
Armed with his cross and staff, went smiling 

on, 
And boldly fronts the foe, at sight of whom 
The Saxons stood amazed, for, to their seeming, 
Above the hermit's head appeared such bright- 
ness. 
Such clear and glorious beams, as if our men 
^[arched all in fire, wherewith the pagans fled, 
And by our troops were all to death pursued. 

Glo.<f. 'Tis full of wondes, sir. 

Aurel Oh, Gloster, he's a jewel worth a king- 
dom. 
Where's Oswald with his answer ? j. 

Osic. 'Tis here, my royal lord. 

A iirel In writing 1 Will he not sit with us 1 

Osiv. His orisons performed, he bade me say 
He would attend with all submission. 

AureJ. Proceed to council, then, and let some 
give order, 
The ambassadors being come, to take our answer, 
They have admittance. Oswald, Toclio, 
Be it your charge ; and now, my lords, observe 
The holy counsel of this reverend hermit. 



TDE BIRTH OF MEKLIX. 41 

*' As you respect your safety, limit not 
That only i)ower that hath protected you. 
Trust not an open enemy too far ; 
He's yet a loser and knows you have won, 
Mischiefs, nut ended, are but then Legun. 

Anselme the Hermit." 
Don. Powerful and pithy, which my advice 
con firms — 
Xo man leaves physic Avhen his sickness 

slakes, 
But doubles the receipts. The word of peace 
Seems fair to blood-shot eyes, but being applied 
With such a medicine as blinds all the sight, 
Argues desire of cure but not of art. 

Aurel. You argue from defects : if both the 
name. 
And the condition of the peace be one. 
It is to be preferred, and in the ofier 
Made by the Saxon I see nought repugnant. 
• Glost. The time of truce required for thirty 

days 
Carries suspicion in it, since half that space 
Will serve to strength their weakened regiment. 
Cador. Who in less time will undertake to free 
Our country from them ? 

Edicin. Leave that unto our fortune. 

Don. Is not our bold and hopeful General 
Still master of the field, their legions fallen, 
The rest intrenched for fear, half starved, and 
\vounded ? 



42 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

And shall we now give o'er our fair advantage ? 
Fore heaven, my Lord, the danger is far more 
In trusting to their words, than to their 
weapons. 

Eater Oswald. 

Osw. The ambassadors are come, sir. 
Aurel. Conduct them in. AVe are resolved, 
my Lords, 
Since policy failed in the beginning. 
It shall have no hand in the conclusion. 
That heavenly power that hath so well begun 
Their fatal overthrow, I know can end it ; 
From which fair hope^ myself will give them 
answer. 

{Flourish of cornets. Enter Artesia icith the 
Saxon Lords, 

Bon. What's here ? A woman orator ? 

Aurel. Peace, Donobert ! — speak, what are 
you, Lady 1 

Artes. The sister of the Saxon General, 
Warlike Ostorius, the East Angles' King, 
My name Artesia who, in terms of love, 
Brings health and peace to great AureUus, 
AVishing she may return as fair a present 
As she makes tender of. 

Aurel. The fairest present e'er mine eyes were 
blest with ! 
Command a chair there for this Saxon beauty — 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 43 

Sit, Lady, we'll confer : your warlike brother 
Sues for peace, you say ? 

Artes. "With endless love unto your state and 
person. 

Aurd. lie's sent a moving orator, helieve me. 
What thinkst thou, DonoLert 1 

Don. Believe me, sir, were I but young again, 
This gilded pill might take my stomach (|uickly. 

Aurel. True, thou art old : how soon we do 

forget 

Our own defects ! Fair damsel — Oh ! my tongue 

Turns traitor and will betray my heart, — Sister 

To our enemy : — 'sdeath ! her beauty mazes 

me, 
I cannot speak. If I but look on her, — 
What's that we did conclude 1 

Don. This, royal Lord — 

Aurel. Pish ! thou canst not utter it. 
Fairest of creatures, tell the king, your brother, 
That we in love — ha ! and honour to our 

country. 
Command his armies to depart our realm, 
But if you please, fair soul — Lord Donobert 
Deliver you our pleasure. 

Don. I shall, sir. 

Lady, return, and certify your brother. 

Aurel. Thou art too blunt and rude : Return 
so soon 1 
Fie, let her stay, and send some messenger 
To certify our pleasure. 

Don. AVhat means your Grace? 



44 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

Aurel. To give her time of rest to her long 
journey. 
We -woukl not willingly be thought uncivil. 

Artes. Great King of Britain^ let it not seem 
strange 
To embrace the princely offers of a friend, 
Whose virtues with thine own, in fairest merit, 
Both states in peace and love may now inherit. 

Aurel. She speaks of love again — 
Sure 'tis my fear, she knows I do not hate her. 

Artes. Be then thyself, most great Aurelius, 
And let not envy, nor a deeper sin 
In these thy counsellors, deprive thy goodness 
Of that fair honour. We, in seeking peace 
Give first to thee, who never use to sue. 
But force our wishes : yet, if this seem light, 
Oh, let my sex, though worthless your respect,^ 
Take the report of thy humanity, 
Whose mild and virtuous life loud fame dis- 
plays, 
As being o'ercome by one so worthy praise. 

Aurel. She has an angel's tongue. Speak 
still.^ 

Don. This flattery is gross, sir ; hear no m^re 
on 't. 
Lady, these childish compliments are needless : 

3 Though worthless your respect, a Latinism, etsi 
indigna tuo honore. 

■* ,S'^?7? = ever, continually, cp. "Whom the disease 
of talking still once possesseth, he can never hold 
his peace." — Ben Jonson. 



TDE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 45 

You have your answer ; and believe it, madam, 
His Grace, though young, doth uear within liis 

breast 
Too grave a counsellor to be seduced 
By smoothing flattery or oily words. 

Arfes. I come not, sir, to woo him. 

Don. 'Twere folly if you should : you must 
not wed him. 

Aurel. Shame take thy tongue ! being old and 
weak thyself, 
Thou dot'st and looking on thine own defects^ 
Speak'st what thou 'dst wish in me ! Do I 

command 
The deeds of others, mine own act not free 1 
15e pleased to smile or frown, we respect neither : 
^ly will and rule shall stand and fall together. 
Most fair Aitesia, see the king descends 
To give thee welcome with these warlike Saxons, 
And now on equal terms both sues and grants ; 
Instead of truce, let a perpetual league 
Seal our united bloods in holy marriage. 
Send the East Angles' king this happy news — 
That thou with me hast made a league for ever, 
And added to his state a friend and brother. 
Speak, dearest love, dare you confirm this title ? 

A lies. I were no woman to deny a good 
So high and noble to my fame and country. 

Aurel. Live then a Queen in Britain ! 

Glost. He means to marry her ? 

Don. Death ! he shall marry the devil first I 
Marry a. pagan, an idolatress 1 



46 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

Cador. He has won her quickly. 

Edwin. She was wooed afore she came, sure, 
Or came of purpose to conchide the match. 

Aurel. Who dares oppose our will ? ]\Iy lord 
of Gloster, 
Be you ambassador unto our brother, 
The brother of our queen Artesia, 
Tell him, for such our entertainment looks him, 
Our marriage adding to the happiness 
Of our intended joys ; man's good or ill, 
In this like waves agree, come double still. 

Enter Hermit. 

Who's this ? the hermit ] Welcome, my happi- 
ness, 
Our country's hope, most reverend holy man ; 
I wanted but thy blessing to perfect 
The infinite sum of my felicity. 

Hermit. Alack, sweet Prince, that happiness 
is yonder : 
Felicity and thou art far asunder. 
This world can never give it. 

Aurel, Thou art deceived, see here, what I 
have found. 
Beauty, alliance, peace, and strength of friends, 
All in this all-exceeding excellence. 
The league's confirmed. 

Herm. With whom, dear Lord ] 
Aurel. With the great brother of this beau- 
teous woman 
The royal Saxon king. 



THE BIRTH OF ME RUN. 47 

Henn. Oh, then, I soc 

And fear thou art too noar thy misery. 
What ma^4c roiild so link thee to this mischief? 
By all the good that thou hist reaped by me 
Stand further from destruction. 

Aurel. Speak as a man, and I shall hope to 
obey thee. 

Henn. Idolaters, get hence ! Fond king, let go : 
Thou hug'st thy ruin and thy country's woe. 

I)(tn. Well spoke, old Father ; to him ! bait 
him soundly ! 
Now, by heaven's Itlest la<ly, I can scarce keep 
patience. 

First Saxon Lord. What devil is this ? 

Second Saxon Lord. That cursed Christian by 
whose hellish charms 
Our army was o'erthrown. 

Ilerm. Why do you dally, sir? Oh, tempt 
not heaven, 
Warm not a serpent in your naked bosom, 
Discharge them from your Court. 

Aurel. Thou speak'st like madness ! 

Command the frozen shepherd to the shade, 
When he sits warm i' the sun ; the fever-sick 
To add more heat unto his burning pain — 
Tliose may obey, 'tis less extremity 
Than thou enjoin'st to me. Cast but thine eye 
Upon this beauty — do it — I'll forgive thee, 
Though jealousy in others finds no pardon ; 
Then say thou dost not love : I shall then swear 
Thou art immortal and no earthly man. 



48 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Oh, blame then my moitalit}^ not me. 

Herm. It is thy ^veakness brings thy misery^ 
Unhappy Prince. 

Aurel. Ee milder in thy doom. 

Herm. 'Tis ,you that must endure heaven's 
doom, ^vhich fall'n 
Eemembers just.^ 

Artes. [_aside] Thou shalt not live to see it. 
\_Aloud'\ How fares my Lord ? 
If my poor presence breed dislike, great prince^ 
I am no such neglected soul will seek 
To tie you to your word. 

Aurel. My word, dear love ! may my religion. 
Crown, state and kingdom fail, when I fail 

thee. 
Command Earl Chester to break up the camp, 
Without disturbance to our Saxon friends : 
Send every hour SAvift posts to hasten on 
The king, her brother, to conclude this league. 
This endless happy peace of love and marriage ; 
Till when, provide for revels, and give charge 
That nought be wanting which make our triumphs 
Sportful and free to all. If such fair blood 
Engender ill, man must not look for good. 



'" Tieck:— 

Nein, du muss ihn erdulden 
Den schweren Spruch, der dir vom Himmel fallt. 
2iemembers = reminds, cp : — 

Thy sting is not so sharp 
As friend remembered not. 

Shaks. As You Like It (Act ii., sc. 7). 



TEE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 49 

[Flourish. Exeunt all hd Hermit. Enter 
]\roDESTiA reading in a hool\'\ 

Modest. How much the oft rc'i)ort of tliis 
l)lest Hermit 
Hath won on my desires ; I must beliohl liim : 
And sure this should be lie. Uli ! the Avorld's 

folly ! 
Proud earth and dust, how low a price hears 

goodness ! 
All that should make man absolute, shines in 

him — 
Much reverend sir, may I without offence 
Give interruption to your holy thoughts ? 
Herm. AVhat would you, lady 1 
Modest. That which till now 

Xe'er found a language in me : I'm in love. 
Herm. In love with what ? 
Modest. AVith virtue. 

Herm. There's no blame in that. 
Moded. Nay, sir, with you, with your reli- 
gious life, 
Your virtue, goodness : if there be a name 
To express affection greater than that word, 
That would I learn and utter. Reverend sir, 
li there be anything to bar my suit. 
Be charitable and expose it ; your prayers 
Are the same orisons, which I shall number. 
Holy sir. 

Keep not instruction back from willingness, 
Possess me of that knowledge leads you on 

£ 



50 THE BIRTH OF MEELIN. 

To this humility/' for well I know, 
Were greatness good, you would not live so low. 
Herm. Are you a virgin ? 
Modest, Yes, sir. 

Herm. Your name ? 

Modest. Modestia. 

Herm. Your name and virtues meet, a modest 
virgin. 
Live ever in the sanctimonious ' way 
To heaven and happiness. There's goodness in 

you. 
I must instruct you further : come, look up, 
Lehold yon firmament — there sits a power 
AVhose footstool is this earth. Oh, learn this 

lesson 
And practise it ; he that will climb so high 
Must leave no joy beneath to move his e^'e. 

lExif. 
Modest. I apprehend you, sir ; on heaven I 
fix my love, 
Earth gives us grief, our joys are all above : 
for this was man in innocence naked born, 
To show us wealth hinders our sweet return. 

[Exit. 

^ That Tcnoidedge leads, for that knoTvledge that 
leids, relative omitted. 

^ Sanctimonious, in good sense = holy, cp. : — 
All sanctimonious ceremonies. 

Shaks. Tempest (Act iv., sc. 1). 



TUE BIETH OF MEKLIN. 51 

ACT II. 

Scene I. 
Enter Clown and his sidcr great with child. 

Cloivn. Away ! follow me no furtlier, I am 
none of thy brother. Wliat with child 1 great 
with child and knows not who's the father on't. 
I am ashamed to call thee sister. 

Joan. Ijelieve me, l)rotlier, he was a gentle- 
man. 

do. Nay, I believe that he gives arms and 
legs too, and has made you the herald to blaze 
'em. But Joan, Joan, sister Joan, can you tell 
me his name that did it 1 How shall we call my 
cousin, your bastard, when we have it ? 

Joan. Alas, I know not the gentleman's name, 
brother : I met him in these woods, the last 
great hunting. He was so kind, and proffered 
me so much, as I had not the heart to ask him 
more. 

Clo. Xot his name ? Why, this shows your 
country breeding. ISTow, had you been brought 
up i' the city, you'd have got a father first, and 
tlie child afterwards. Hast thou no marks to 
know him by *? 

Joan. He had most rich attire, a fair hat and 
feather, a gilt sword, and most excellent hangers. 

Clo. Pox on his hangers ! would he had been 



gelt for his labour. 



E 1: 



•62 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Joan. Had you but heard liiiu swear you 
would have thought — 

Clo, Aye, as you did : swearing and lying goes 
together still. Did his oaths get you with child % 
We shall have a roaring boy then, i'faith. Well, 
sister, I must leave you. 

Joan. Dear brother, stay ; help me to find 
him out ; I'll ask no further. 

do. 'Sfoot! who should I find 1 Who 
should I ask for 1 

Joan. Alas, I know not. He uses^ in these 
woods, and these are witness of his o.iths and 
2)roraise. 

Clo. We are like to have a hot suit on't, when 
our best witness 's but a knight o'the post. 

Joan. Do but inquire this forest, I'll go with 
you. Some happy fate may guide us till we 
meet him. 

Clo. Meet him ? and what name shall we have 
for him when we meet him 1 'Sfoot thou neither 
knowst him, nor canst tell what to call him. 
Was ever man tired with such a business, to 
have a sister got with child and know not who 
did it ! Wellj you shall see him^ I'll do my best 
for you. I'll make proclamation ; if these woods 
and trees, as you say, will bear any witness, let 



8 JJ^es = frequents, cp. : — 

Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use 
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks. 

Milton, Lycid. 136. 



THE BIRTri 0? MERLIN. 53- 

tliom answer. yes;' if there be any man 
lliat wants a name, will come in for conscience^ 
sake, and acknowledge himself to be a Avhore- 
master, he shall have that laid to his charge in 
an hour he shall not be rid on in an age : if he 
have lands, he shall have an heir ; if he have 
patience, he shall have a wife ; if he have neither 
lands nor patience, he shall have a whore, so, ho, 
boy, so, ho, so, so. 

A Voice from the Forest. So, ho, boy, so, ho, 
illo ho, illoho. 

Cio. Hark, hark, sister ! there's one hollows to 
us. What a wicked world is this ! A man cannot 
so soon name a whore but a knave comes presently ; 
and sec where he is : stand close a while, sister. 

£7iter Prince Uter. 

Prince. How like a voice that echo spake, but 
oh! 
My thoughts arc lost for ever in amazement : 
Could I but meet a man to tell her beauties, 
Tliese trees would bend their tops to kiss the air 
That from my lips should give her praises up. 

Clo. He talks of a woman, sister. 

* ye^:, barbaric form of Oyez, the word with 
wliich all proclamations began. Oyez=hearye, cp. : — 
O yes ! if any happy eye 
This roving wanton shall descry j 
Let the finder surely know 
Mine is the wag. 

Crashaw. 



54 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Joan. This may be lie, brother. 

Olo. View hmi well, you see he has a fair 
sword, but his hangers are fallen. 

Prince. Here did I see her first, here view her 
beauty. 
Oh, had I known her name, I had been happy. 

Clo. Sister, this is he, sure, he knows not thy 
name either : a couple of wise fools i'faith, to get 
children and know not one another. 

Prince. Yon weeping leaves^ upon whose 
tender cheeks 
Doth stand a flood of tears at my complaint. 
You heard my vows and oaths — 

Clo. La, la, he has been a great swearer too ; 
'tis he, sister. 

Prince. For having overtook her, 
As I have seen a forward bloodhound strip 
The swifter of the cry, ready to seize 
His wished hopes, upon the sudden view, 
Struck with astonishment at his arrived prey. 
Instead of seizure stands at fearful bay ; 
Or like to Marius' soldier,^ whom o'ertook 
The eyesight-killing Gorgon, at one look 



1 The allusion is to the soldier sent by the local 
authorities of Minturnse, in Latium, on the triumph 
of the aristocratic party under Sulla to kill Caius 
IMarius, -who was hiding amid the neighbouring 
marshes. When the soldier came upon the great 
captain, now an outlaw, he quailed before the fire 
of MiU'ius' eve, and tied, exclaiming, " I cannot kill 
Caius Marius ! " 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. OO 

]\rade everlasting' stand : so feared, my power, 

Whose cloud aspired tlie sun, dissolved a shower. 

Pygmalion, then I tasted thy sad fate. 

Whose ivory picture and my fair were one. 

Our dotage past imagination, 

I saw and felt desire^ but enjoyed not. 

Oh, fate ! thou hast thy days and nights to feed 

On calm ailection ; one poor sight was all, 

Converts my pleasure to perpetual thrall. 

Embracing thine, thou lost'st breath and desire, 

So I relating mine, will here expire. 

For here I vow to you. ye mournful plants. 

Who were the first made happy by her fame, 

Xever to part lienc*?, till I know her name. 

Clo. Give me thy hand, sister; the child has 
found his father. This is he, sure, as I am a man : 
had I been a woman these kind words M'ould 
have won me, I should have had a great Ijelly 
too, that's certain. Well, I'll speak to him. 
— Most honest and fleshly-minded gentleman, 
give me your hand, sir. 

Pnnce. Ha ! what art thou, that thus rude 
and boldly 
Darest take notice of a wretch 
So much allied to misery as I am % 

Clo. iSTay, sir, for our alliance, I shall be found 
to be a poor brother-in-law of your worship's. 
The gentlewoman you spake on is my sister : you 
.see what a clew she spreads, her name is Joan 
Go-toot, I am her elder, but she has been at it 
before me : 'tis a woman's fault — pox a this 



56 THE BIRTH OP MEELIN. 

bashf ulness ! come forward, Jug, prytbee speak 
to him. 

Prince. Have you e'er seen me, lady ? 
CIo. Seen ye 1 lia, ha ! it seems she has felt 
you too ; here's a young Go-toot a-eoming, sir. 
She is my sister, sir, we all love to Go-toot 
as well as your worship ; she's a maid yet, 
but you may make her a wife when you please, 
sir. 

Prince. I am amazed Avith wonder : tell me, 
woman, 
Wliat sin have you committed worthy this ? 
Joan. Do you not know me, sir '? 
Prince. Know thee I as I do thunder, hell, 
and mischief, 
Witch, scullion, hag ! 

Clo. I see he will marry her, he speaks so like 

a husband. 
Prince. Death ! I M'ill cut their tongues out 
for this blasi:>hemy. — Strumpet, villaiu, Avhere 
have you ever seen me 1 

Clo. Speak for yourself with a pox to ye. 
Prince. Slaves. 
I'll make you curse j^ourselves for this tempta- 
tion. 
Joan. Oh, sir, if ever you did speak to me 
It was in smoother phrase, in fairer language. 
Prince. Lightning consume me, if I ever saw 
thee. 
My rage o'erflows my blood, all patience flies 
me. \^Beats her. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 57 

Clo. Hold ! I beseech you, sir ; I have 
nothing to say to you. 

Jo(.ni. Help, help ! Murder, murder ! 

lE/der TuCLio and Oswald.] 
Tod. Make haste, sir, this way the sound 
came, it was i'the wood. 

Osw. Sec where she is, and the Prince, the 
price of all our Avishes. 

Clo. The Prince, say ye ? has made a poor 
subject of me, I am sure. " 

Tod. Sweet Prince, noble Uter, speak, how 
fare you, sir 1 

Osic. Dear sir, recall yourself : your fearful 
absence 
Hath won too much already on the grief 
Of our sad king, from whom our labouring 

search 
Hath had this fair success in meeting you. 
Tod. His silence and his looks argue distrac- 
tion. 
Clo. Xay, he's mad, sure, he will not acknow- 
ledge my sister nor the child neither. 
Osw. Let us entreat your Grace along with us. 
Your sight will bring new life to the king, your 
brother. 
Tod. Will you go, sir ? 

Prince. Yes, any whither, guide me, all's hell : 
I see 

2 Tieck : — " Er hat raein Seel einen armseligen Un- 
terthan aus mir gemacht." Mein Seel is Tieck's own, 
not the author's. Jla*^ =ho has. 



58 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

Man may change air, but not his misery ."' 

[Exeunt VriisCE and Toclio. 
Joan. Lend me one word with you, sir. 
Clo. Well said, sister : he has a feather, and 

fair hangers too, this may be he. 
Osw. "What would you, fair one 1 
Clo. Sure, I have seen you in these woods ere 

this 1 
Osw. Trust me, never ; I never saw this place, 
Till at this time my friend conducted me. 
Joan. The more's my sorrow, then. 
Osw. Would I could comfort you. 

I am a bachelor, but it seems, you have 
A husband, you've been foully o'ershot else. 
Clo. A woman's fault : we are all subject 
to go to't, sir. 



[Enter Toclio.] 

Tocl. Oswald, away ! the Prince will not stir 

a foot without you. 
Osw. I am coming. Farewell, woman ! 
Tocl. Prythee, make haste. 
Joan. Good sir, but one word with you ere 

3'ou leave us. 
Tocl. With me, fair soul ? 
Clo. She'll have a fling at him too : the child 

must have a father. 



^ Cp. ;U6Ta\AaTT6t oh t))V rpoTTOv aWa rhv ro'iroi; and 
coclum nou animiim mutat. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 50 

Joan. Have you ne'er seen me, sir ? 
Tod. ^ Seen thee ! 'sfoot. 

I have seen many fair faces in my time. 
Prythee look up, and do not -sveej) so : sure, 
Pretty wanton, I liave seen this face before. 
Joa7i. It is enough, though you ne'er sec me 
more. \_Siuli's doirn. 

Tod. 'Sfoot, she's falTn. This phice is en- 
chanted, sure : look to the woman, fellow. 

Clo. Oh, she's dead ! she's dead ! As you arc 
a man, stay and help, sir. Joan, Joan, sister 
Joan, why, Joan Go- toot, I i^ny, will you cast 
away yourself, and your chikl, and me too 1 
What do you mean, sister ? 

Joan. Oh, give me pardon, sir : 'twas too 
much joy 
Oppressed my loving thought : I know you were 
Too noble to deny me — ha I where is he ? 

Clo. Who 1 the gentleman 1 he's gone, sister. 
Joan. Oh ! I am undone then ; run, tell him 
I did 
But ftiint for joy, dear brother haste ; Avhy dost 

thou stay ? 
Oh, never cease, till he give answer to thee. 
Clo. He ? which he 1 what do you call him, 

trow ? * 
Joan. Unnatural brother, show me the path 
he took ; 

"• Tro or fro?'/ = pray, cp. : — 

What means the fool, trow ? 
Shaks. Much Ado About Nothiivj (Act iii., sc. 4). 



eO TBE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Why dost thou dally ? speak, oh ! which way 
TN'cnt he 1 

Clo. This way, that way, through the hushes 
there. 

Joan. "Were it through fire, 
The journey's easy, winged with sweet desire. 

\_Exit, 

Clo. Hey day ! there's some hope of this yet ; 
I'll follow her for kindred's sake ; if she miss 
of her purpose now^ she'll challenge all she finds, 
I see ; for if ever we meet with a two-legged 
creature in the whole kingdom, the child shall 
have a father, that's certain. [Exit, 



Scene IJ. 

[Loud Music. Enter tiro icitli the sword and 
mace, Cador_, Edwin, two Bishops, Auke- 
Lius, OsTORius leading Artesia crowned, 

CONSTANTIA, !MoDESTIA^ OCTA, PrOXIMUS, « 

magician, Donobert, Gloster^ Oswald, 
TocLio, all pass over the stage. Manent 
Donobert, Gloster, Edwin, Cador.] 

Bon. Come, Gloster, I don't like this hasty 

marriage. 
Glos, She was quickly wooed and Avon, not 
six days since 
Arrived an enemy to sue for peace, 
And now crowned Queen of Britain : this is 
stramire ! 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 01 

Don. Her brother too, ma\Ie as quick speed in 
coQnn.L,^ 
Leaving liis Saxons and liis starved troops, 
To take the advantage Avliilst 'twas offered. 
Fore heaven, I fear the king's too credulous. 
Our army is discharged too. 

Glos. Yes, and our general commanded home. 
8on Edwin, have you seen him since ? 

Eda\ He's come to Court_, but will not view 
the presence^ 
Nor speak unto the king, he is so discontent 
At this so strange alliance with the Saxon, 
As nothing can persuade his patience. 

Ciidor. You know his humour will endure no 
check, 
No if the king oppose it, all crosses 
Feed both his spleen and his impatience. 
Those affections are in him like powder, 
Apt to inllame with every little spark, 
And blow up all his reason. 

Glos. Edol of Chester is a noble soldier. 

Don. So is he, by the rood, ever most faithful 
To tlie king and kingdom, howe'er his passions 
guide him. 

Enter Edol ^cith Captains. 

Cador. See where he comes, my Lord. 

'"> Presence = room in which a priucc shows himself 
to his court, op. : — 

An't please your grace, the two great cardinals 
Wait in the presence. 

Shaks. Hen. VIIL (Act iii., sc. 1.; 



62 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

All "Welcome to Court, brave Earl. 
EdoJ. Do not deceive me by your flatteries. 
Is not the Saxon here 1 the league confirmed ? 
The marriage ratified *? the Court divided 
With pagan infidels, the least part Christians, 
At least in their commands ? Oh, the gods ! 
It is a thought that takes away my sleep, 
And dulls my senses so, I scarcely know you. 
Prepare my horses, I'll away to Chester. 

Capt. What shall we do with our companies, 

my Lord ? 
Edol. Keep them at home to increase cuck- 

holds 
And get some cases for your captainships ; 
Smooth up your brows ; the war has spoiled 

your faces, 
And few will now regard you. 
Don. Preserve your patience, sir. 
JEcloJ. Preserve your honours, lords, your 

country's safety. 
Your lives and lands from strangers. What 

black devil 
Could so bewitch the king, so to discharge 
A royal army in the height of conquest, 
Xay, even already made victorious ] 
To give such credit to an enemy, 
A starved foe, a straggling fugitive, 
Beaten beneath our feet, so low dejected. 
So servile and so base, as hope of life 
Had won them all to leave the land for ever 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 03 

Dun. It Avas tlic king's will. 

]£doL It -was your want of wisdom. 

That should have laid before his tender youth 
The dangers of a State, where foreign powers 
Bandy for sovereignty with lawful kings, 
Who, being settled once, to assure themselves, 
Will never fail to seek the blood and life 
Of all competitors. 

Lon. Your words sound well, my Lord, and 
I)oint at safety 
Loth for the realm and us : but why did you, 
Within whose power it lay as general. 
With full commission to dispose the war, 
Lend ear to parley with the weakened foe 1 

Edol. Oh, the good gods ! 

Cador. And on that parley came this embassy, 

EdoJ. You will hear me ? 

Edicin. Your letters did declare it to the 
king, 
Loth of the peace and all conditions 
Brought by this ^^'^xon lady, whose fond love 
Has thus bewitched him. 

Edoh I will curse you all as black as hell, 
L^nless you hear me 1 Your gross mistake would 

make 
AVisdom herself run madding through the streets 
And quarrel with her shadow ! Death ! 
Why killed ye not that woman ? 



aioBt. ] ^^' '"J" ^'""^ 



64 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Eclol. The great devil take me quick I '^ had I 
been l)y, 
And all the women of the world were barren, 
She should have died ere he had married her 
On these conditions. 

Cador. It is not reason that directs you thus. 

Edol. Then have I none, for all I have directs 
me : 
Never was man so palpably abused, 
So basely marted," bought and sold to scorn. 
My honour, fame, and hopeful victories, 
The loss of time, expenses, blood, and fortunes. 
All vanished into nothing. 

Edic. This rage is vain, my Lord : 
What the king does, nor they nor you can 
help. 

Edol. My sword must fail me then. 

Cador. 'Gainst whom will you oppose it 1 

Edol. What's that to youl 'Gainst all the 
devils in hell 
To guard my country. 

Edic. These are airy words. 

Edol. Sir, you tread too hard upon my 
patience. 

Edic. I speak the duty of a subject's faith. 
And say again, had you been here in presence, 

^ Quid; = alive, cp. to judge the quick and the dead. 

' Marted. = bought or sold, cp. : — 
Poor brats were slaves, of bondmen that were born, 
And marted, sold. 

Marston, Scourge of Villany (Act i., sc. 2). 



TEE BIRTH OF JIEHLIN. C5 

AVliat the kiii.L,' did you had not dared to cross it. 
Edol. Ill Irample on liis life and soul iliat 

says it. 
Cador. My Lord ! 
Edir. Come, come ! 

JCdoI. ]S'ow before heaven ! 

Cador. Dear sir ! 

Edol Not dare? Thou liest Leneath tliy 

lungs. 
GJos. Ko more, son Edwin. 
Edw. I have done, sir ; I take my leave. 
Edol. But thou slialt not ; you shall take no 

leave of me, sir. 
Glos. For wisdom's sake, my Lord. 
Ednl. Sir, I'll leave him, and you, and all of 

The Court and King, and let my sword and 

friends 
Shuflie " for Edol's safety. Stay you here 
And hug the Saxons till they cut your throats, 
<3r bring the land to servile flattery. 
Such yokes of baseness Chester must not suffer. 
Go and repent betimes these foul misdeeds, 
For in this league all our whole kingdom bleeds, 
Which I'll pieserve_, or perish. 

[E.ceunt Edol and Capt. 

® Tieck : — " Entmusz'gcn." 
Shvjji'. = shift, cp.: — 

Your life, good master, 

Must shu^e for itself. 

Shake. Cymbelinc (Act v., sc. 5). 



6Q THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

Olos. See how his rage transports him ! 
Cador. These passions set apart, a braver 
soldier 
Breathes not i' the world this day. 

Don. I wish his own worth do not court his 
ruin. 
The king must rule, and we must learn to obey : 
True virtue still directs the noble way. 



Loud music. Enter Aurelius, Artesia, Osto- 
Rius, OcTA, Proximus, Oswald, Hermit. 

Aurel. Why is the Court so dull ? IMethinks 
each room 
And angle of our palace should appear 
Stuck full of objects fit for mirth and triumphs, 
To show our high content. Oswald, fill wine. 
Must we begin the revels 1 be it so then ! 
Reach me the cup. I'll now begin a health 
To our loved queen, the bright Artesia, 
The royal Saxon king, our M'arlike brother, 
Go and command all the whole court to pledge 

Fill to the hermit there. Most reverend An- 

selme, 
"We'll do thee honour first to pledge my queen. 
Her. I drink no healths, great king ; and if 
I did, 
I would be loath to part with health to those 
That have no power to give it back again. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLTN. 07 

Aunl. Mistake not, 'tis the argument ^ of love 
And duty to our queen and us. 

Artes. But he owes none, it seems. 

Her. I do to virtue, madam. Temperate 
minds 
Covet that health to drink which nature gives 
In every spring to man. He that doth hold 
His body but a tenement at will 
]k'stows no cost, but to repair what's ill. 
Yet if your healths or heat of wine, fair princes, 
Could this old frame, or these crazed limbs restore^ 
Or keep out death or sickness, then fill more ; 
I'll make fresh way for appetite — if no, 
On such a prodigal who would wealth bestow 1 

Ostor. He speaks not like a guest to grace a 
wedding. 

Artes, No, sir, but like an envious impostor. 

Oda, A Christian slave, a cynic. 

Enter Toclio. 

Ostor. What virtue could decline your kingly 

spirit 
To such respect of him whose magic spells 
!Met with your vanquished troops, and turned 

your arms 
To that necessity of fight, which thro'^'^ decpair 

^ Ar>jume)\t = \>roo?y cp. : — 

It is no addition to lier wit, nor no great argument 
of her folly. 

Shaks. Much Ado, ^'c. 
" Tauchnitz Ed., wben the. 
F 2 



68 THE BIETH OF MERLIN. 

Of any hope to stand but by his charms, 
Had been defeated in a bloody conquest 1 

Octa. Twas ningic, hell-born magic did it, 
sir; 
And that's a course, my Lord, which we esteem, 
In all our Saxon wars, unto ^ the last 
And lowest ebb of servile treachery. 

Aurel. Sure, you are deceived, it M'as the hand 
of heaven 
That in his virtue gave us victory. 
Is there a power in man that can strike fear 
Thorough a general camp, or create spirits 
In recreant bosoms above present sense % 

Ostor. To blind the sense there may, with 
apparition 
Of well-armed troops, within themselves are air. 
Formed into human shapes ; " and such that day 
Were by that sorcerer raised to cross our for- 
tunes. 



1 Esteem unto. The preposition unto after esteem 
was probably common, but I cannot recall another 
instance of this phrase esteem unto. 

2 Tieck:— 

Es blenden wohl den Sinn Erscheinungen 
Geharn'schter Krieger, die nur lustig sind, 
In Menschenbildung. 
To blind, to inserted where not wanted, cp. : — 
Whom when on ground she grovelling saw to roll. 
Spenser, F. Q., v. 7, p. 32. 
There may, for this may. 

Within themselves are air, read, Which in them- 
selves, &c. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. G9 

Aiirel. There is a law lulls us that words 
want force 
To make deeds void : examples must be shown 
]iy instances alike, ere I helieve it. 

Ostor. 'Tis easily performed, believe me, sir ; 
Propose your own desires, and give but way 
To what our magic here shall straiglit perform, 
And then let his or our deserts be censured. 
Aurel. "We could not wish a greater happi- 
ness, 
Than what this satisfaction brings with it. 
Let liim proceed, fair brother. 

Ostor. He shall, sir. 

Come, learned Proximus, this task be thine ; 
Let thy great charms confound the opinion 
This Christian by his spells hath falsely won. 
Pro.c. Great king, propound your Avishes 
then ; what persons. 
Of what state, what numbers, or how armed — 
Please your own thoughts ; they shall appear 
before you. 
Aurel. Strange art ! what think'st thou, reve- 
rend hermit ? 
Her. Let him go on, sir. 
Aurel. Wilt thou behold his cunning ? 

Her. Eight gladly, sir ; 't will be my joy to 
tell 
That I was here to laugli at him and hell. 
Aurel. I like thy confidence. 
Artes. His saucy impudence : proceed to th' 
trial. 



70 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

Prox. Speak 3'onr desires, my Lord, and be it 

placed 
In any angle undcrneatli the moon. 
The centre of tlie earth, the sea, the air, 
The region of the fire, nay, hell itself, 
And I'll present it. 

Aurel. We'll have no sight so fearful, only 

this : 
If all thy art can reach it, show me here 
The two great champions of the Trojan war, 
Achilles and brave Hector, our great ancestor,^ 
Both in their warlike habits, armour, shields. 
And weapons then in nse for fight. 

Frox. 'Tis done, my lord : command a halt 

and silence. 
As each man will respect his life or danger. 
Armel ! Plesgeth ! 

JEnter Spirit. 

Spiv. Quid vis 1 ^ 
Prox. Attend me. 

Aurel. The apparition comes. On our dis- 
pleasure. 
Let all keep place and silence, 

3 Ancestor, alluding to' the legendary genealogy of 
the Britons from a Brutus, a scion of Priam's race, 
who, after the fall of Troy, came at length to this 
island, which derived its name from liim. This gene- 
alogy is due, as many vagaries of the middle ages are 
due, to etymological credulity. 

^ What do you wish ?, 



TEE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 71 

Within drums heat marches. Enttr Proximus 
bringing in Hector attired and armed 
after tJie Trojan manner, with target, sword, 
and battle-axe, a tnimpet before him, a7id 
a spirit in flame colours fcith a torch. At 
the other door Achilles, ivith his sjyear and 
falchion, a trumpet and a spirit in black 
lie/ore him. 'Trumpets sound alarm, and 
they manage their weapons to begin the 
fight; and after some charges, the Hermit 
stepsbetween them, at ichich, seeming amazed^ 
the spirits tremble.^ Thunder within. 

Pro.li. Wliat means this stay, bright Armel, 
Plcsgeth ? 
Why fear ye and fall back % 
Renew the alarums and enforce the combat, 
Or hell and darkness circle you for ever. 
Arm. We dare not. 
Prox. Ha ! 

Pies. Our charms are all dissolved. Armel, 
away ! 
'Tis worse than hell to us whilst here we stay. 

\E.cennt Spirits. 
Tier. What ! at a nonplus, sir ? Command 

them back for shame. 
Prox. What power o'erawes my spells 1 Re- 
turn, you hell-hounds ! 

■' Tieck : — " Bei welcliem Anblick die Geistei* er- 
schrecken nnd zittern." Perhaps wo should read, 
"At which seeming amazed the spirits tremble." 



72 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Armel and Plesgetli, double damnation seize you ! 
Ey all the infernal powers, the prince of devils 
Is in this hermit's habit. What else 
Could force my spirits quake and tremble thus ? 
Her. AVeak argument to hide your want of 
skill. 
Does the devil fear the devil, or war with hell 1 
They have not been acquainted long, it seems. 
Know, misbelieving pagan, e'en that power 
That overthrew your force still lets you see 
He only can control both hell and thee. 

Prox. Disgrace and mischief ! I'll enforce 
new charms, 
Kew spells, and spirits raised '^ from the low abyss 
Of hell's unbottomed depths. 

Aurel. AVe have enough, sir. 

Give o'er your charms, we'll find another time 
To praise your art. I dare not but acknow- 
ledge 
That heavenly power my heart stands witness to. 
Be not dismayed, my Lords, at this disaster, 
Nor thou, my fairest queen : we'll change the 

scene 
To some more pleasing sports. Lead to your 

chamber : 
Howe'er in this thy pleasures find a cross, 
Our joy 's too fixed here to suffer loss. 

6 Tieck :— ... Ick will . . . 

Yom tiefsten Abgrund neue Geister rufen. 
Tieck reads, raise. Raised yields the same mean- 
iug : — " I will enforce new spirits, raised from, &c." 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 73 

Tori/ AYhich T shall add to, sir, with news I 
bring : 
The prince your brother lives. 
Aurd. Ila ! 

2'oc. And comes 

To grace this high and heavend^nit marriage. 
Aiirel. Why dost thou Hatter me to make me 
think 
Such happiness attends me 1 

Enter Prince Uter and Oswald. 

Toe. His presence speaks my truth, sir, 

Don. Fore me, 'tis he : look, Gloster. 

Glos. A blessing beyond hope, sir. 

Aurel, Ha ! 'tis he ; Avelcome, my second 
comfort. 
Artesia, dearest love, it is my brother, 
'Mj princely brother, all my kingdom's hope. 
Oh, give him welcome as thou lov'st my health. 

Artes. You have so free a welcome, sir, from 
me 
As this your presence has such power, I swear, 
O'er me a stranger, that I must forget 
My country, nanie^ and friends, and count this 

place 
My joy and birthright. 

Prince 'Tis she ! 

" Toe. (" Dcr indess eiugetreten ist." — Tiock). Tie 
stage-direction has been here omitted, " who had ia 
the meantime entered," or some such words. 



74 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

'Tis she, I swear ! Ob, ye good gods, 'tis she ! 
That face -within those woods, where first I saw 

her, 
Captived my senses^ and thus many months 
Barred me from all society of men. 
How came she to this place 1 
Brother Aurelius, speak that angel's name, 
Her heaven-blest name: oh, speak it quickly, 
sir ! 

Aurel. It is Artesia, the royal Saxon Princess. 

I*rin. A woman and no deity ? no feigned 
shape 
To mock the reason of admiring sense 1 
On whom a hope as low as mine may live, 
Love, and enjoy, dear brother, may it not 1 

Aurel. She is all the good or virtue thou 
canst name. 
My wife, my queen. 

Prill, Ha ! your wife ! 

Artes. Which you shall find, sir, if that time 
and fortune 
May make my love but worthy of vour trial. 

Pri7i. Oh! 

Aurel, What troubles you, dear brother ? 

Why with so strange and fixed an eye dost 

thou 
Behold my joys ? 

Ai'tes. You are not well, sir! 

Fri?i. Yes, yes. Oh, you immortal powers ! 
Why has poor man so many entrances 
For sorrow to creep in at, when our sense 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 75 

Is much too weak to hold his ^ happiness 1 
Oh, say I was born deaf and let your silence 
Confirm in me the kno^ving my defect : 
At least be charitable to conceal 
Aly sin, for hearing is no less in me, 
Dear brother. 

Aurel. Ko more ! 
I see thou art a rival in the joys 
Of my high bliss. Come, my Artesia, 
The day's most praised when 'tis eclipsed by 

night, 
Great good must have as great ill opposite. 

Fri'?i. Stay, hear but a word — yet now I think 
on 't, 
This is your wedding-night, and were it mine, 
I should be angry with least loss of time, 

Artes. Envy speaks no such words, has no 
such looks. 

Frin. Sweet rest unto you both, 

Aurel. Lights to our nuptial chamber. 

Artes. [aside to tlte Frince^ Could you speak 
so, 
I would not fear how much my grief did grow, 

Aurel. Lights to our chamber ; on, on, set on. 
[Exeunt all except the Prince. 

Prin. '' Could you speak so, 

I would not fear how much my grief did grow." 
Those were her very words — sure I am waking : 

^ IIis = its, wliich was post-Shakespearian, and not 
used originally in the Authorized Version of the 
Bible J cp. Abbot's Shakespearian Grammar,'^ 2, ed. 3. 



76 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

She wrung me by the hand, and spoke them to me 
With a most passionate affection. 
Perhaps she loves^ and now repents her choice 
In marriage with my brother ! Oh, fond man, 
How darest thou trust thy traitorous thoughts_, 

thus to 
Betray thyself? 'Twas but a waking dream 
"Wherein thou mad'st thy wishes speak, not her. 
In which thy foolish hopes strive to prolong 
A M-retched being. So sickly children play 
With health-loved ^ toys, which for a time delay 
But do not cure the fit. Be then a man, 
Meet that destruction which thou canst not fly 
From ; not to live, make it thy best to die ; 
And call her now, whom thou didst hope to wed, 
Thy brother's wife. Thou art too near akin ; 
And such an act above all name's a sin 
Xot to be blotted out. Heaven pardon me ! 
She's banished from my bosom now for ever. 
To lowest ebbs men justly hope a flood. 
When vice grows barren, all desires are good. 

Enter Waiting-Gentlewoman iciili a jewel. 

Gent. The noble prince, I take it, sir. 

Prin. You speak me, what I should be, lady. 

Gent. Know, by that name, sir, Queen 

Artesia greets you — 
Frin. Alas, good virtue, how is she mistaken. 
Gent. Commending her affection in this jewel, 

sir. 

^ Health-loved = \Q\Qdi in healili. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 77 

Frin. She binds my service to her. Ila, a 
jewel ! 'Tis 
A fair one^ trust me, and methinks it much 
Kesembles something I have seen with her. 
Gent, It is an artificial crab, sir. 
Prin. A creature that goes backward. 
Gent. True, from the way it looks. 
Frin, There is no moral in it alludes to her- 
self ? 
Gmt. 'Tis your construction gives you that, 
sir : 
She's a woman. 

Prin. And like this may use 

Her legs and eyes two several ways. 

Gent. Just like the sea-crab which on the 
mussel preys, 
Whilst he bills at a stone. 

Frin. Pretty, in truth. 

Prithee, tell me, art thou honest 1 
Gent. I hope I seem no other, sir. 
Frin. And those that seem so, are sometimes 

bad enough. 
Gent. If they will accuse themselves for want 
of witness, 
Let them. I am not so foolish. 

Frin. I see th'art wise. 

Come, speak me truly, what is the greatest sin ? 
Gent. That which man never acted. What 
has been done 
Is, at the least, common to all as one. 

Frin. Dost think thy lady is of thy opinion 1 



78 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Gent. She's a bad scholar else ; I have brought 
her up, 
And she dares owe^ me still. 

Prin. Aye, 'tis a fault in greatness ; they 
dare owe 
jMany, ere they pay one, but darest thou 
ExjDOse thy scholar to my examining ? 

Gent. Yes, in good troth, sir ; and pray put 
her to't too. 
'Tis a hard lesson, if she answer it not. 

Frin. Thou know'st the hardest. 

Gent. As far as a woman may, sir. 

Frin. I commend thy plainness. 
When wilt thou bring me to thy lady ? 

Gent. jSText opportunity I attend you, sir. 

Prin. Thanks, take this and commend me to 
her. 

Gent. Think of your sea-crab, sir, I prav. 

(Exit. 

Prin. Oh, by any means,- lady — 
What should all this tend to 1 
If it be love or lust that thus incites her, 
The sin is horrid and incestuous. 
If to betray my life, what hopes she by it ? 
Yes, it may be a practice 'twixt themselves, 
To expel the Britons, and ensure the state 
Through our destructions — all this may be 
Veird with a deeper reach in villany, 
Than all my thoughts can guess at. Howe'er 

^ Ov:e — ov:n. 

' By any means = hy all means, now. 



THE BIRTH OF BERLIN. 79 

I will confer with lier, and if I find 
Lust lialli given life to envy in her mind, 
I may prevent the dan.ii^er; so men wise 
By the same step by which they fell, may rise. 
Vices are virtues, if so thought and seen ; 
And trees with foulest roots, branch soonest 
gi-ecn. [Exit. 



ACT III. 

Scene I. 

2Lnfer Clowx cnid Ms sister Jo^\x. 

CIo. Come, sister, thou that art all fool, all 
madwoman. 

Joa?2. Prithee, have patience, we arc now at 
Court. 

CIo. At Court 1 ha, ha ! that proves thy mad- 
ness. Was there ever any woman in thy taking " 
travelled to Court for a husband "? 'Slid ! 'tis 
enough for them to get children and the city to 
keep 'em, and the country to find nurses. Every- 
thing must be done in his due place, sister. 

Joan. Be but content a while ; for sure I know 

3 Ta/c/n{/ = distress, cp.: — 

What a ta'king was he in, -when your husband asked 
who was in the basket ? 

Shake. 'Merry Wives of ^yindsor (Act iii., sc. 3). 



80 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

This journey will lie happy. Oh, dear brother. 
This night my sweet friend came to comfort 

me ; 
I saw him and embraced him in mine arms. 

Clo. "Why did you not hold him and call me to 
help you '? 

Joan. Alas ! I thought I had been with him 
still, 
But when I waked — 

Clo. A pox of all loggerheads ! Then you 
were but in a dream all tliis while, and we may 
still go look him. "Well, since we are come to 
Court, cast your cat's eyes about you, and either 
find him out you dreamt on, or some other, for 
I'll trouble myself no further. 

U7ifcr Dox., Cadoe, Edw., and Toclio. 

See, sec, here comes more courtiers, look about 
you, come, pray, view 'em all well : the old man 
has none of the marks about him ; the others 
have both swords and feathers. What thinkest 
thou of that tall young gentleman ? 

Joaji. He much resembles him ; but sure, my 
friend. 
Brother, was not so high of stature. 

Don. Come, come, I'll hear no more on't : go, 
Lord Edwin, 
Tell her, this day her sister shall be married 
To Cador, Earl of Cornwall, so shall she 
To thee, brave Edwin, if she'll have my blessing. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 81 

Edir. She is addicted to a single life, 
She "will not hear of marriage. 

Don, Tush, fear it not, go you from me to 
her. 
Use your best skill, my Lord, and if you fail, 
I have a trick shall do it : haste, haste, about it. 

Edw. Sir, I am gone, my hope is in your help 
More than my own. 

Don. And, worthy Toclio, 

To your care I must commend this business, 
For lights and music, and Avhat else is needful. 

'loc. I shall, my Lord. 

Clo. We would entreat a word, sir. Come 
forward, sister. 

l^Exeunt Don., Toe, Cador. 

Edw. What lack'st thou, fellow "? 

Clo. I lack a father for a child, sir. 

Edic. How, a godfather] 

Clo. Xo, sir, we mean the own father: it may 
be you, sir, for anything we know. I think the 
child is like you. 

Edw. Like me ! Prithee where is it 1 

Clo. Nay, 'tis not born yet, sir, 'tis forth- 
coming you see ; the child must have a father. 
What do you think of my sister 1 

Edw. AVhy I think if she ne'er had husband, 
she's 
A whore, and thou a fool. Farewell. \_Exit. 

Clo. I thank you, sir. Well, pull up thy 
heart, sister ; if there be any law i'the Court this 
fellow shall father it, 'cause he uses me so 

G 



82 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

sciirvily. There's a great wedding towards/ they 
say ; we'll amongst tliem for a husband for 
thee. 

Enter Sir Kicodemus with a letter. 

If we miss there_, I'll have another bont with him 
that abused me. See, look, there comes another 
hat and feather ; this should be a close lecher, 
he's reading of a love-letter. 

Sir Nic. Earl Cador's marriage and a masque 
to grace it — 
So, so : this night shall make me famous for 
Presentments. — How now 1 What are you "? 

Clo. A couple of great Britons, you may see by 
our bellies, sir. 

Sir Nic. And what of this^ sir 1 

Clo. Why thus the matter stands^ sir. There's 
one of your courtiers' hunting nags has made a 
gap through another man's enclosure. Now, sir, 
here's the question ; who should be at charge of 
a fnr-bush ^ to stop it 1 

Sir Nic. Ha, ha, this is out of my element. 
The law must end it. 

Clo, Your worship says well, for surely I 
think some lawyer had a hand in the business : 
we have such a troublesome issue. 

^ Tou-arcZs = coming on, cp.: — 

"We have a foolish trifling banquet towards. 

Shaks. Eoni. and Jul. (Act i. sc. 5.) 
5 Tieck : — " Strauchwerk." 
For fur-hxish, we should perhaps read, furze-hush. 



THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 8'3 

Sir Nic. ViWt wliat's thy business with mc 
now 1 

C'lo. Xay, sir, the Ijiisiness is done ah-cady ; 
you may sec by my sister's belly. 

Sir Nic. Oh, now I find thee : this gentle- 
woman, it seems, has been humbled. 

CIo. As low as the ground would give her 
leave, sir, and your worship knows this — though 
there be many fathers without children, yet to 
have a child without a father, were most un- 
natural. 

Sir Nic. That's true i' faith : I never heard of 
a child yet that e'er begot his father. 

Clo. AVhy, true ; you say wisely, sir. 

Sir Nic. And, therefore, I conclude that ho 
that got the child is without all question the 
father of it. 

Clo. Aye, now you come to the matter, sir ; 
and our suit is to your worship for the discovery 
of this father. 

Sir Nic. Why lives he in the Court here ? 

Joan. Yes, sir ; and I desire but marriage. 

Sir Nic. And does the knave refuse it ? 
Come, come, be merry, wench : he shall marry 
thee and keep the child too, if my knighthood 
can do anything. I am bound by mine orders to 
help distressed ladies ; and can there be a greater 
injury to a M'oman with child than to lack a 
father for't 1 I am ashamed of your simpleness. 
ComCj come, give me a courtier's fee for my 
pains, and I'll be thy advocate myself, and 
G 2 



84 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

justice shall be found ; nay, I'll sue the law for 
it, but give me my fee first. 

Clo. If all the money I have i' the world will 
do it, you shall have it, sir. 

Sir JSlc. An angel ^ does it. 

Clo. Nay, there's two for your better eyesight, 
sir. 

Sir JSJic. "Why, well said. Give me thy 
hand, wench : I'Jl teach thee a trick for all this, 
shall get a father for thy child j^resently, and 
this it is, mark now. You meet a man, as you 
meet me now ; thou claimest marriage of me, and 
layest the child to my charge ; I deny it, pish ! 
that's nothing, hold thy claim fjist, thy word 
carries it, and no law can withstand it. 

Clo. Is't possible "^ 

Sir Nic. Past all opposition, her own word 
carries it. Let her challenge any man^ the child 
shall call him father. There's a trick for your 
money now. 

Clo. Troth, sir, we thank you : we'll make 
use of your trick, and go no further to seek the 
child a father, for we challenge you, sir. Sister, 
lay it to him ; he shall marry thee ; I shall have 
a worshipful old man to my brother. 

Sir Nic. Ha, ha ; I like thy pleasantness. 

Joan. iSJ'ay, indeed, sir ; I do challenge you. 

Clo. You think we jest, sir. 

Sir Nic. Aj, by my troth, do I. I like thy 

^ An old gold coin, value 6s. SJ. 



THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 85 

wit i'faitli ; tliou shalt live at court with me. 
Didst never hear of Nicodemus Nothing ] I am 
tlie man. 

Clo. Nothing! 'Sli<l, we arc out again. 
Tliou wast never got with cliild with nothing, 
sure. 

Joan. I know not what to say. 

Sir Nic. Never grieve, wench : show me tlie 
man, and process shall fly out. 

Clo. 'Tis enough for us to flnd the children ; 
we look that you should find the father, and 
therefore either do us justice, or we'll stand to 
our first challenge. 

Sir Nic. "Would you have justice without an 
adversary 1 Unless you can show me the man, I 
can do you no good in it. 

Clo. Why, then, I hope you'll do us no harm, 
sir ; you'll restore my money. 

Sir Nic. What, my fee 1 Marr}-, law forbid 
it : find out the party and you shall have 
justice, your fault closed up, and all shall be 
amended, the child find his lather, and the law 
ended.' [Ej:it. 

Clo. Well, he has deserved his fee indeed, for 
he has brought our suit to a quick end, I promise 
you : and yet the child has never a father, nor 
have we no more money to seek after him. A 

'^ Tieck : — " Ilat durch Gesetz den Yater nur das 
Kind." 

Read, perhaps, " The child have (or ha's) father, 
and the law be ended." 



8Q THE BIHTH OF MERLIN. 

sliame of all lecherous plackets ! '^ Xow you 
look like a cat had newly kittened. What will 
you do now, trow ? Follow me no further, lest 
I beat 3^our brains out. 

Joan. Impose upon me any punishment 
Rather than leave me now\ 

Clo. Well, I think I am bewitch' d with thee ; 
I cannot find in my heart to forsake her. There 
w'as never sister w^ould have abused a poor 
brother as thou hast done. I am even pined 
away with fretting ; there's nothing but flesh 
and bones about me. Well, an' I had my money 
again, it were some comfort. [/^ thunders.'] 
Hark, sister, does it not thunder 1 

Joan. Oh, yes, most fearfully : what shall we 
do, brother 1 

Clo. Marry, e'en get some shelter ere the storm 
catch us. Away, let's away, I prithee. 

Eiiter The Devil in man^s habit, richly attired, 
his feet and his head horrid. 

Joan. Ha_, 'tis he_, stay, brother, dear brother, 

stay. 
Clo. What's the matter now 1 
Joan. My love, my friend is come, yonder he 

goes. 
Clo. Where, where "? show me where, I'll stop 
him. if the devil be not in him. 

8 Plackets = petticoafcg, cp. :- - 
Was that brave heart made to pant for a placket ? 
Beaum. and Fiet. Humorous Liexd. 



TUE BIRTH 0? MERLIN. 87 

Joan. Look there, look yonder ! 
Oh, dear friend, pity my distress ! 
For heaven and goodness do but speak to me. 

Devil. {aside\ She calls me, and yet drives 
me headlong from her. 
Poor mortal, thou and I are much uneven, 
Thou must not speak of goodness nor of heaven 
If I confer with thee ; but be of comfort, 
Whilst men do breathe and Britain's name be 

known, 
The fatal fruit thou bear'st M'ithin thy womb. 
Shall here be famous till the day of doom. 

Glo, 'Slid, who's that talks so ! I can see 
nobody. 

Joan, Then art thou blind or mad, see where 
he goes 
And beckons me to come ; oh, lead me forth, 
I'll follow thee in spite of fear or death. 

Clo. Oh, brave ! she'll run to the devil for a 
husband, she's stark mad, sure, and talks to a 
shadow, for I could see no substance. Well, I'll 
after her. The child was got by chance, and 
the father must be found at all adventure. 

lE.cit. 

Scene II. 

Enter Hermit, Modestia, and Edwin. 

Modest. Oh, reverend sir, by you my heart 
hath reached 



88 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

At the large hopes of holy piety, 

And for this have I craved your company, 

Here in your sight religiously to vow, 

My chaste thoughts up to heaven, and make you 

now 
The witness of my faith. 

Ser. Angels assist thy hopes. 

Eclw. "What means my love ? Thou art my 

promised wife. 
Modest. To part with willingly what friends 
and life 
Can make no good assurance of. 

Edic. Oh ! find remorse, fair soul, to love and 
merit 
And yet recant thy vow. 

Modest. Xever. 

This world and I are parted now for ever. 

Ker. To find the way to bliss, oh, happy 
woman, 
Thou'st learned the hardest lesson well, I see. 
Now show thy fortitude and constancy ; 
Let these thy friends thy sad departure weep. 
Thou shalt but lose the wealth thou could'st 

not keep. 
My contemplation calls me, I must leave ye. 
Edic. Oh, reverend sir, persuade not her to 

leave me. 
Ser, My Lord, I do not, nor to cease to love ye; 
I only pray her faith may fixed stand : 
Marriage was blest I know with heaven's own 
hand. [Exit. 



TEE BIRTU OF JIERLIN. 89 

liear him, lady : 'tis not a virgin's 
state, 
But sanctity of life must make you happy. 
Modest. CJood sir ! you say you love me, 
gentle Edwin, 
Even by that love I do Lesecch you leave 
me. 
Edw. Tliink of your father's tears, your weep- 
ing friends 
"Whom cruel grief makes pale and bloodless for 
you. 
Modest. "Would 1 were dead to all. 
Edw. "Why do you weep ? 
Modest. Oh, Avho would live to see 

How men with care and cost seek misery 1 

Edw. Why do you seek it then? "What joy, 
-what pleasure 
Can give you comfort in a single life ? 

Modest. The contemplation of a happy death 
"Which is to me so pleasing that I think 
Ko torture could divert me. What's this 

world 
Wherein you'd have me walk but a sad passage 
To a dread judgment-seat from whence e'en 

now 
We are but bailed upon our good abearing. 
Till that great sessions come when death, the 

crier. 
Will surely summon us and all to appear 
To plead us guilty or our bail to clear. 
What music's this ] 



90 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Soft music. Enter Two Bishops^ Doxobert, 
Gloster, CadoRj Coxstaxtia, Oswald,, and 

TOCLIO. 

Edw. Oh, now resolve and think npon my love ! 
This sounds the marriage of your beauteous sister, 
Virtuous Constantia, with the noble Cador. 
Look and behold this pleasure ! 

Modest. Cover me with nighty 

It is a vanity not worth the sight. 

Don. See^ see, she's yonder. 
Pass on^ son Cador, daughter Constantia. 
I beseech you all, unless she first move speech^ 
Salute her not. — Edwin^ what good success? 

Edir. Nothing as yetj unless this object take 
her. 

Don. See, see, her eye is fixed upon her sister. 
Seem careless all, and take no notice of her. 
On afore there, come, my Constantia. 

Modest. Not to speak to me, nor deign to cast 
an eye, 
To look on my despised poverty ! 
I must be more charitable : pray, stay. Lady, 
Are not ye she whom I did once call sister 1 

Const. I did acknowledge such a name to one, 
Whilst she was worthy of it, in whose folly ^ 

^ Tieck renders : — 

Doch dein thor'ger Sinn, 
Der deine Freunde krankt und deinen Euf, 
Yerbietet mir, dich Schwester jetzt zu nennen. 
Probably -sve should read, " Whilst she was worthy 
on't, but in this folly," &c. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 91 

Since you neglect your fame and friends 

together, 
In you I drowned a sister's name for ever. 
Moded. Your looks did speak no less. 
Glost, It now begins to M'ork. This sight has 

moved her. 
Don. I knew this trick would take, or 

nothing. 
Modest. Though you disdain in me a sister's 
name, 
Yet charity, methinks, should be so strong 
T' instruct ere you reject. I am a wretch, 
E'en folly's instance, who perhaps have erred, 
^ot having known the goodness bears so high 
And fair a show in you, which being expressed, 
I may recant this low despised life, 
And please those friends whom I have moved to 
grief. 
Cador. She is coming, i'faith. Be merry, 

Edwin. 
Const. Since you desire instruction, you shall 
have it. 
What is't should make you thus desire to live 
Vowed to a single life ? 

Modest. Because I know I cannot fly from 
death. 
Oh, my good sister, I beseech you, hear me ! 
This world is but a masque, catching weak eyes 
With what is not ourselves, but our disguise, 
A vizard that falls off, the dance being done, 
And leaves death's glass for all to look upon. 



92 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Our best happiness here lasts but a night, 
Whose burning tapers make false ware seem 

right. 
Who knows not this, and will not now provide 
Some better shift before his shame be spied, 
And knowing this vain Avorld at last will leave 

him, 
Shake off these robes, that help but to deceive 

him'? 
Const. Her words are powerful ; I am amazed 

to hear her. 
Don. Her soul's enchanted with infected 

spells. 
Leave her, best girl, for now in thee 
I'll seek the fruits of age, posterity. — 
Out o' my sight ! Sure I was half asleep 
Or drunk when I begot thee. 

Const. Good sir, forbear. What say you to 

that, sister 1 ^ 
The joy of children, a blest mother's name? 
Oh, who, without much grief, can lose such fame ? 
Modest. Who can enjoy it without sorrow, 

rather ] 
And that most certain where the joy's unsure. 
Seeing the fruit that we beget endure 
So many miseries, that oft we pray 
The heavens to shut up their afflicted day. 
At best we do but bring forth heirs to die, 

^ Tieck :— ""Was sagst du hiezn ? " 

Say you to that ? We should perhaps read, this. 



THE BIIITII OF MERLIN. 93 

And fill the colliiis of our enemy. 
Const, Oh, my soul ! 

Don. Hear no more, Constantia. 

She's sure hewitchecl with error. Leave her, 
girl ! 
Const. Then must I leave all goodness, sir. 
Away ! 
Stand oil! I say. 

Don, How's this 1 

Const. I have no father, friend, no husLand 
now. 
All are but borrowed robes, in which we masque 
To waste and spend the time, when all our life 
Ls but one good betwixt two ague-days, 
"Which" from the first, ere we have time to 

praise, 
A second fever takes us. Oh, my best sister. 
My soul's eternal friend, forgive the raslmess 
Of my distempered tongue ! For how cou 

she^ 
Knew not herself, know thy felicity, 

- Which may be = a5 to which, cp. Abbott's S. a. 
§272. But it is better, perhaps, to take it = and, cp.: — 
A jolly pliceman, 
"Which perhaps Lis name is X. 

Thackei'aj. 
^ She kneic = she who knew; the relative being 
omitted, cp. : — 

1. 1 have a brother is condemned to die. 

2. I have a mind presages. 

You are one of those 

3. "Would have him wed again. 

Abbott's S. G., § 214. 



94 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

From whicli worlds cannot now remove me ? 
Don. Art thou mad, too? Fond woman, 

what's thy meaning ? 
Const. To seek eternal happiness in heaven, 
"Which all this world affords not. 

Cador. Think of thy vow. Thoa art my 

promised wife. 
Const. Pray, tronble me no further. 
All. Strange alteration ! 

Cador. Why do you stand at gaze, you sacred 
priests 1 
You holy men, be equal to the gods. 
And consummate my marriage with this woman. 
BisTiop. Herself gives bar, my Lord, to your 
desires 
And our jDorformance ; 'tis against the law 
And orders of the Church to force a marriage. 
Cador. How am I wronged ? "Was this your 

trick, my Lord ? 
Don. I am abused past sufferance. 
Grief and amazement strive which sense of mine 
Shall lose her being first. — Yet let me call 
Thee daughter. 

Cador. Me, wife. 

Const. Your words are air. You speak of 
want to wealth. 
And wish her sickness newly raised to health. 
Don. Bewitched girls, tempt not an old man's 
fury 
That hath no strength to ujjhold his feeble age 
But what your sights give life to. Oh, beware, 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 95 

And do not make me curse you ! 

Moded (Jcnedlnri). Dear father, 

Here at your feet we kneel, grant us but tlii.^, 
Tliat in your sight and liearing the good Hermit 
May plead our cause ; wliich if it shall not give 
Such satisfaction as your age desires, 
We will submit to you. 

Const. You gave us life, 

Save, not our bodies, but our souls, from death. 

Don. This gives some comfort yet. Rise 
with my blessings. — 
Have jDatience, noble Cador, worthy Edwin. 
Send for the Hermit that we may coaifer, 
For sure religion ties you not to leave 
Your careful f\ither thus. If so it be. 
Take you content, and give all grief to me. 

\_E.ceunt. 

Scene III. 

Thunder and Ji'jhtning. Enler Devil. 

Devil. Mix, light and darkness ! Earth and 
heaven, dissolve, 
Be of one piece again, and turn to chaos ! 
Break all your works, you powers, and spoil tlio 

world ; 
Or, if you will maintain earth still, give way 
And life to this abortive birth now cominf% 
AVhose fame shall add unto your oracles. 
Lucina, Hecate, dreadful queen of niglit. 



96 TBE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Briglit Prosperine, be pleased for Ceres' love, 
From Stygian darkness summon ^ up the Fate?, 
And in a moment bring them quickly hither, 
Lest death do vent her birth ^ and her together. 

\_T1iunder. 
Assist you spirits of infernal deeps ! 
Squint-eyed Erictho, midnight Incubus, 
Rise, rise to aid this birth prodigious. 

Enter Lucina and the three Fates. 

Thanks, Hecate, hail, sister to the gods ! 

There lies your -way : haste with the Fates and 

help. 
Give quick despatch unto her labouring throes 
To bring this mixture of infernal seed 
To human being. [^Exit Fates. 

And to beguile her pains, till back you come. 
Antics shall dance and music fill the room. 

\I)ance. 
Thanks, queen of Shades ! 

Lucina. Farewell, great servant to th' infernal 
king 1 
In honour of this child, the Fates shall bring 

^ Be pleased summon, for io sumraon. To was in- 
serted or dropped by Shakespeare before the infinitive 
at will. See Abbott's S. G., § 3i9, and cp. : — 

1. You ought not walk. 

2. To come view fair Portia. 

'" Her hirth. What grammarians call putting the 
abstract for the concrete. ITere, her hirth — her 
child. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 97 

All their as^sistiiig ixnvors of knowletl<^'e, art>;, 
Learning, M'isdoni, all the hidden p.irts 
Of all-adinii'ilig i)rophecy, to foresee 
The event of times to come. His art shall stand 
A wall of brass to guard the Britain land. 
Even from this minute, all his art appears 
Manlike in judgment, person, state and year's. 
L'pon his breast the Fates have fixed his name. 
And since his birth-place was this forest here, 
They now have named hitn Merlin Silvester.'' 

[Ejctt. 
JDeril. And ^Merlin's name in Britain shall 
live. 
Whilst men inhabit here, or Fates can give 
Power to amazing wonder ; envy shall weep,^ 
And mischief sit and shake her ebon wings, 
Whilst all the world of Merlin's magic sings. 

[Exit, 
Scene IY. 
[Enier Clown.] 

CIo. Well, I wonder how my poor sister does 
after all this thundering. I think she's dead, 

s Merlin Silr ester. There were three Merlins, rr 
rather three distinctive epithets attached to the 
same name, viz. Silvestris, Caledonius, Ambrosius. 
'■ Tieck : — 

So lang' hier ^lenschen leben, er giebt Allen 
Zum Staunen Anlass, und es weint der Neid. 
The meaning is, "So long as the fates give pov^'cr 
to Merlin, the wonder who causes amazement to 
all," &c. 

H 



Vi5 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

for I can hear no tidings of her. These wooJs^ 
yield small comfort for her ; I conld meet no- 
thing but a swineherd's wife keeping hogs by 
the forest-side : but neither she nor none of her 
sows would stir a foot to help us. Indeed, 1 
think she durst not trust herself among the trees 
with me, for I must needs confess 1 offered some 
kindness to her. AYell, I would fain know 
what's become of my sister. If she have brought 
me a young cousin, his face may be a picture to 
find his father by. So, ho, sister Joan, Joan 
Go-too't, where art thou? 

Joan (icithin). Here, here, brother ; stay but 
a while, I come to thee. 

Cio. Oh, brave ! she's alive still : I know her 
voice ; she speaks, and speak's cheerfully me- 
thinks. How now, what moon-calf has she got 
with her 1 

[Enter Jo^^y: and Merlin icitJi a hooJi.] 

Joan. Come, my dear Merlin, why dost thou 
fix thine eye 
So deeply on that book ? 

Med. To sound the depth 

Of arts, of learning, wisdom, knowledge. 

Joari. Oh, my dear, dear son, 
Those studies fit thee when thou art a man. 

MerJ. Why, mother, I can be but half a man 
at best. 
And that is your mortality ; the rest 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIX. 99 

In me is spirit. 'Tis not meat nor time 

That gives this growth and bigness. No, my 

years 
Sliall be more strange than yet my birth appears. 
Look, mother, there's my uncle. 

Joan. How dost thou know him, son % Thou 
never saw'st him. 

MerJ. Yet I know liim, and know the jiains 
He has taken for ye, to find out my father. — 
Give me your hand, good uncle. 

Clo. Hn, ha ! I'd laugh at that i'faith. Do 
you know me, sir '? 

Mcrl. Yes, by the same token that even now 
you kissed the swineherd's wife in the woods, 
and would have done more, if she would have 
let you, uncle. 

C7o. A witch, a witch, a witch ! Sister, rid him 
out of your company ; he is either a witch or a 
conjurer, he could never have known this else. 

Joan. Pray, love him, brother : he is my son. 

Clo. Ha, ha ! this is worse than all the rest 
i'faith : by his beard he is more like your hus- 
band. Let me see, is your great belly gone. = 

Joan. Yes, and this the ha2')py fruit. 

Clo. What this artichoke ] A child born with 
a beard on his face. 

Merl. Yes^ and strong legs to go, and teeth to 
eat. 

Clo, You can nurse up yourself, then. 
There's some charges saved for soap and caudle. 
'Slid, I have heard of some that has been born 
H 2 



100 THE BIETH OF MERLIN. 

■with teeth, but never none with such a talking 
tongue before. 

Joan. Come, come, you must use him kimlly, 
brother. Did you but know his worth, you 
would make much of him. 

Clo. Make much of a monkey ? a child to 
speak, eat, and go the first hour of his birth ; 
nay, such a baby as had need of a barber before 
he was born too ! Why, sister, this is monstrous, 
and shames all our kindred. 

Joan. That thus, 'gainst nature and our 
common births. 
He comes thus furnished to salute the world. 
Is power of Fates, and gift of his great father. 

Clo. "Why, of what profession is your father, 
sir ? 

Merl. He keeps a hothouse i'the Low Countries. 
Will you see him, sir ? 

Clo, See him I Why sister has the child found 
his father 1 

Merl. Yes, and I'll fetch him, uncle. 

Clo. Do not uncle me till I know your kindred. 
For my conscience,^ some baboon begot thee. 

'^ Tieck. — " Auf mein Gewissen." 

For my conscience. For may be taken — ''I lav a 
\^■ager," cf. — 

is^oWj for mv life, she's ■wandering to the Tower. 

Shaks. Eich. III. (Act iv., bc. 1, 3.) 

But, perhaps, we should read,/o7*e imj conscience, cf. 
fore God, fore heaven. 



THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 101 

Surely^ thou art horribly deceived, sister, this 
urchin cannot be of thy breeding. I shall be 
ashamed to call him cousin, though his father 
be a gentleman. 

Enter Merlin and Devil. 

Merl. Now, my kind uncle, see 
The child has found his father. This is he. 

Clo. The devil it is ! Ha, ha, is this your 
sweetheart, sister 1 Have we run through the 
country, haunted the city, and examined the 
Court to find out a gallant with a hat and 
feather, and a silken sword, and golden hangers, 
and do you now bring me to a ragamuffin with a 
face like a frying-pan'? 

Joan. Fie, brother! You mistake; behold him 
better. 

Clo. How's this? Do you juggle with me, or 
are mine eyes matches ? Hat and feather, sword 
and hangers and all ! This is a gallant indeed, 
sister ; this has all the marks of him we look 
for. 

Devil. And you have found him now, sir. 
Give me your hand, I now must call you brother. 

Clo. Not till you have married my sister, for 
all this while she's but your whore, sir. 

Devil. Thou art too plain. I'll satisfy that 
wrong 
To .lier, and thee, and all with liberal hand. 
Come, why art thou fearful 1 



102 THE BIRTH OF MERIJX. 

Clo. Xay, I am not afraid, and^ you were the 
devilj sir. 

Devil. Thou needest not. Keep with thy 
sister still 
And I'll supply your wants: you shall lack 

nothing 
That gold and wealth can purchase. 

Clo. Thank you, brother. We have gone 
many a weary step to find you. You may be a' 
husband for a lady, for you are far-fetched and 
dear-bought, I assure you. Pray^ how should I 
call your son, my cousin here ? 

Devil. His name is Merlin. 

Clo. Merlin ! Your hand, cousin Merlin. For 
your father's sake, I accept you into my kindred. 
If you grow in all things as your beard does^ you 
will be talked on. By your mother's side, cousin, 
you come of the Go-too'ts, Suffolk bred, but our 
standing house is at Hocklye i'th' Hole, and 
Layton-Buzzard. For your father, no doubt, you 
may from him claim titles of worship, but I can- 
not describe it: I think his ancestors came first 
from Hell-bree^ in Wales, cousin. 

Devil, No matter whence we do derive our 
name, 
All Britany shall ring of Merlin's fame, 
And wonder at his acts. Go hence to Wales : 

^ Tieck : — " Bringslierein und Lassnichtloss." 
Hollenbrodel. — The Clown's geography is more 
pleasant than instructive. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 103 

There live a while : tliere Vortiger, tlie king, 
Builds castles and strongholds which cannot 

stand 
Unless supported by young Merlin's hand. 
There shall thy fame begin. Wars are a- 

breeding; 
Tlie Saxons practise treason yet unseen, 
Which shortly shall break out. — Fair love, fare- 
well ! 
Dear son and brother ! here must I leave you all. 
Yet still I will be near at Merlin's calh 

Merl. Will you go, Uncle V' 

Clo. Yes, I'll follow you, cousin. — Well, I do 
most horribly begin to suspect my kindred. This 
brother-in-law of mine is the devil, sure, and 
though he hide his horns with his hat and 
feather, I spied his cloven foot for all his 
cunning. 

\_Exit. 

Scene Y. 

Enter Ostorius, Octa and Proximus. 

Ostor. Come, come, time calls our close corn- 
plots to action. 
Go, Proximus, with winged speed fly hence ; 
Hie thee to Wales, salute great Yortiger 
With these our letters ; bid the king to arms, 

- Tieck :— (Merlin geht ab^ Stage dirocfcion (Exit) 
omitted. 



104 THE BIRTH OF 3JERLIN. 

Tell liim m'g have new friends, more forces 

landed 
In IS'orfolk and Xortliumberland ; bid him 
Make haste to meet us. If he keep his word, 
We'll part the realm between us. 

Oct, Bend all thine art to quit the late dis- 
grace 
The Christian hermit gave thee. Make thy 

revenge 
Eoth sure and home. 

Pro.r. That thought, sir, spurs me on. 
Till I have wrought their swift destruction. 
Ostor. Go then and prosper. Octa, be vigi- 
lant : 
Speak, are the forts possessed ? the guards made 

sure 1 
Revolve, I pray, on how large consequence 
The bare event and sequel of our hopes 
Jointly consist that have embarked our lives 
Upon the hazard of the least miscarriage. 

Oct. All's sure. The queen, your sister, hath 
contiived 
The cunning plot so sure, as at an instant 
The brothers shall be both surprised and taken. 
Ostor. And both shall die. Yet one a while 
must live 
Till we by him have gathered strength and 

power 
To meet bold Edol, their stern general^ 
That now, contrary to the king's command, 
Hath reunited all his cashiered troops, 



THE BIRTH OF MERLI>T. 105 

And this way beats his drums to threaten us. 

Oct. Then our plot's discovered. 

Ostor. Come, tli'art a fool ! 

His army and his life is given unto us. 
AVhere is the fiueen, my sister 1 

Oct. In conference with the prince. 

Ostor. Bring the guards nearer, all is fair and 
good. 
Their conference, I hope, shall end in hlood. 

[_E.reunf. 

Scene VI. 
Enter Prince and Artesia. 

Artes. Come, come, you. do hut flatter. 
AVhat you term love is but a dream of blood,^ 
AVakes with enjoying, and, with open eyes, 
Forgot, contemned and lost. 

JPrin. {Aside) I must be wary. Iler words 
are dangerous. 
(Aloud) True, Ave'll speak of love no more 
then. 

Artes. Nay, if you will, you n^ay. 
'Tis but in jest : and yet so children ])lay 
With fiery flames, and covet what is bright. 
But, feeling its effects, abhor the light. 

3 Dream of hlood, as it stands, can scarcely be cor- 
rect. May it be for dream o' tJi blond? In whicli case, 
Ave could take J)ZoocZ = man of fire. Next line should be 
read thus : — 

And, -with open eye's forgot, contemned and lost. 



106 THE BIETH OF MERLIN. 

Pleasure is like a building ; the more high 
The narrower still it grows. Cedars do die 
Soonest at top. 

Frin. How does j'our instance * suit ? 

Artes. From art and nature to make sure the 
root, 
And \ixj a fast foundation_, ere I try 
The incertain changes of a wavering sky. 
Make your example thus : — You have a kiss. 
"Was it not pleasing ? 

Prin. Above all name to express it. 

Artes. Yet now the pleasure's gone, 

And you have lost your joy's possession. 

Frin. Yet when you please this flood may 
ebb again. 

Artes. But where it never ebbs^ there runs 
the main. 

Prin. Who can attain such hopes 1 

Artes. I'll show the way to 't. Give mc 

A taste once more of what you may enjov. 

^ [Kiss. 

Prin. (aside) Impudent whore ! 
{aloud) I were more false than atheism ^ can be, 
Should I not call this high felicity. 

Artes. If I should trust your faith, alas, I 
fear 
You soon would change belief. 

■* Instance suit ? Tieck: — " Was soil dies Beispiel 
hier ? " But there is nothing amiss with the text. 

^ Atheism. This word, and co-derivatives, occur 
not in Shakespeare. See Introduction. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN". 107 

Prin. I'd covet martyrdom to make 't con- 
firmed. 
Artcs. Ciive me yo.ur hand on that 3'oii'll keep 

your -svord. 
Prin. I Mill. 

Aries. Enough. — Help, husLand^ King Aii- 
relius, help ! 
Rescue betrayed Artesia. 

Pri}L Nay, then, 'tis I that am hetrayed, I 
see ; 
Yet ■with thy blood I'll end thy treachery. 
Artes. How now 1 what troubles you ? Is 
this you, sir^ 
That but even now would suffer martyrdom 
To win your hopes 1 And is there now such 

terror 
In names of men to fright you 1 
Nay, then, I see what mettle you are made of, 
Prin. Ha ! was it but trial 1 Then I ask your 
pardon. 
What a dull slave was I to be so fearful ! 
(Aside) I'll trust her now no more^ yet try the 

utmost. — 
{Alotid) I am resolved no brother, no man 

breathing, 
Were he my blood's begetter, should ''' withhold 
Me from your love. I'd leap into his bosom 

^ Shonh.l M-ithliold is attracted to the tense and 
mood of the subordinate clause, were he, &c. The 
correct syntax after I am resolved, would be, shall 
withhold. 



108 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

And from his breast pull forth that happiness 
Heaven had reserved in you for my enjoying. 

Artes. Aye, now you s,peak a lover like a 
prince. 
Treason ! treason ! 

Friji, Again? 

Artes. Help, Saxon princes ! 

Enter OsTORius, Octa, a}id others. 

Ostor. Rescue the queen. Strike down the 
villain. 

Enter Edol, Aurelius, Donobert, Cador, 
Edwin, Toclio, Oswald, at the other door. 

Edol. Call in the guards ! The prince in 
danger ! 
Fall back, dear sir, my breast shall buckler you. 

Aurel. Beat down their weapons. 

Edol. Slave, wert thou made of brass, my 
sword shall bite thee. 

Aurel. Withdraw on pain of death. Where 
is the traitor 1 

Artes. Oh, save your life, my lord, let it suf- 
fice 
My beauty forced mine own captivity. 

Anrel. Who did attempt to wrong thee 1 

Erin. Hear me, sir. 

Aurel. Oh, my sad soul ! Was't thou ? 

Artes. Oh, do not stand to speak ! one 
minute's stay 
Prevents a second speech for ever. 



1HE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 109 

Aurel. iMake our guards strong ! 
j\fy dear Artesia, let us know tliy wrongs 
And our own dangers. 

Artes. The prince, your broilier, with these 
Briton lords, 
Have all agreed to take me hence hy force 
And marry me to him. 

Fri7i. The devil shall wed thee first. 

Thy baseness and thy lust confound and rot 
thee. 

Artes. He courted me even now, and in mine 
ear 
Shamed not to plead his most dishonest love ; 
And their attempts to seize your sacred person. 
Either to shut yoi^i up within some prison, 
Or, which is worse, I fear, to murder you. 

All Britons. 'Tis all as false as hell. 

EdoL And as foul as she is. 

Artes. You know me, sir ? 

Edol. Yes, deadly sin, we know you. 
And shall discover all your villany. 

Aurel. Chester, forbear. 

Ostor. Their treasons, sir, arc plain. 

Wliy are their soldiers lodged so near the Court 1 

Oct. Nay, why came he in arms so suddenly 1 

Edol. You fleering antics, do not wake my 
fury. 

Oct. Fury? 

Edol. Ratsbane, do not urge me. 

Artes. Good sir, keep farther from them. 

Prin. Oh, my sick heart ! 



110 TEE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

She is a witch by nature_, devil by art. 

Aurcl. Bite thine own slanderous tongue. 
'*Tis thou art false. 
I have observed your jiassions long ere this. 

Ostor. Stand on your guard,^my lord, we are 
your friends, 
And all our force is yours. 

Edol. To spoil and rob the kingdom. 

AureL Sir, be silent. 

Edol. Silent ! how long 1 till doomsday '? 
Shall I stand by 
And hear mine honour blasted with foul treason_, 
The state half lost^ and your life endangered^ 
Yet be silent ? 

Artes. YeSj my blunt lord, -unless you S2Deak 
your treasons. — 
Sir, let your guards, as traitors, seize them all ; 
And then let tortures and divulsive racks 
Force a confession from them. 

Edol. Wildfire and brimstone eat thee ! Hear 
me, sir. 

AureL Sir^ I'll not hear you. 

Edol. But you shall ! Not hear me 1 
Were the world's monarch, Coesar, living, he 
Should hear me. 

I tell you, sir^ these serpents have betrayed 
Your life and kingdom. Does not every day 
Bring tidings of more swarms of lousy slaves. 
The offal fugitives of barren Germany_, 
That land upon our coasts_, and by our neglect 
Settle in Norfolk and Northumberland ? 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. Ill 

Osfor. Tliey came as aids and safeguards to 

the king. 
Oct. Has he not need^ when Vortiger's in 
arms. 
And you raise powers, 'tis thouglit, to join with 
him 1 
Edol. Peace, you pernicious rat. 
Bon. Prithee, forhear. 

EdoJ. Away ! sufifer a gilded rascal, a low- 
bred 
Despicable creeper, an insulting toad. 
To spit his poisoned venom in my face ! 
Oct. Sir, sir ! 

Edol. Do not reply, you cur, for l)y the gods, 
Though tlie king's presence guard thee, I shall 

b;'enk 
All patience, and like a lion roused to spoil 
Shall run foul-mouthed upon thee and devour 
Thee cpiick. Speak, sir, will you forsake these 

scorpions. 
Or stay till they have stung you to the heart 1 
Aurel. Ye are traitors all. This is our wife, 
our queen. 
Brother Ostorius, troop your Saxons up. 
We'll hence to "Winchester, and raise more 

powers. 
To man with strength the castle Camilot.'' — 
Go hence, false men, join you with Yortiger, 

7 Camilot, or Camelot, i.e., the palace on the Camel. 
Cornwall is an important county in the Arthurian 
legends. 



112 TEE BIRTH OF MERLIX. 

The murderer of oiir brother Constantine. 
We'll hunt both him and you with dreadful 

vengeance. 
Since Britain fails, we'll trust to foreign friends, 
And guard our person from your trait'rous ends. 
[_Exeunt Aurel., Ostor., Octa, Artes.,Toc., Osw. 
Edic. He's sure bewitched. 
Glost. What counsel now for safety 1 

Don. Only this, sir. AVith all the speed we 
can, 
Preserve the person of the king and kingdom. 
Cadot: Wliicli to effect, 'tis best march hence 
to Wales, 
And set on Yortiger before he join 
His forces with the Saxons. 

Edol. On then with speed for Wales and 
Vortiger ! 
That tempest once o'erblown, we come, Ostorius, 
To meet thy trait'rous Saxons, thee and them, 
That with advantage thus have won the king, 
To back your factions and to work our ruin. 
This by the gods and my good sword, I'll set 
In bloody lines upon thy burgonet.^ 

[Exeunt. 

^ Burgonei, a kind of helmet, introduced from Bur- 
gundy, cf. — 

This day I'll wear aloft my burgonet, 
Even to atJright thee with the view thereof. 

Shaks. Hen. YI. (pt. ii., v. 1.) 



TUE BfRTH OF MERLINT. 113 

ACT lY. 

Scene I. 

nt<ji' Clown^ Merlin, and a Little Antic 
Spirit. 

Mcrl. How now, uncle 1 AVliy do you 
search your pockets so 1 Do you miss auything 1 

Clo. Ho, cousin ^Merlin, I hope your beard 
does not overgrow your honesty. I pray re- 
member you are made up of my sister's thread. 
1 am your mother's brother_, whosoever was your 
father. 

Mcrl. AVliy wherein can you task my duty, 
uncle 1 

Clo, Yourself, or your page it must be ; I 
have kept no other company since your mother 
bound your head to my protectorship. I do 
find a fault on one side ; either it was that 
sparrowhawk or a cast of Merlin's, for I find a 
covey of cardecus ^ sprung out of my pocket. 

Merl. Why, do you want any money, uncle 
Sirrah^ had you any from him. 

Clo. Deny it not, for my pockets are witness 
against you. 

tSpii'tl. Yes_, I had^ to teach you bettor wit to 
look to it. 

^ Cardecus, i.e , quart d'ecus. The quart d'eca, i.e., 
^ ecu, wa3 an old silver coin, value 7^d. 

I 



114 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Clo. Pray, use your fingers better, and my 
wit may serve as it is, sir. 

Merl. Well, restore it. 

Spirit. There it is. 

Clo. Ay, there's honesty in this. 'Twas a 
token from your invisible father, cousin, which 
I would not have to go invisibly from me again. 

Merl. "Well, you are sure you have it now, 
uncle ? 

Clo. Yes, and mean to keep it now from your 
page's filching fingers too. 

Sjjirit. If you have it so sure, pray show it 
me again. 

Clo. Yes, my little juggler, I dare show it. 
Ha, cleanly conveyance again. Ye have no in- 
visible fingers, have ye 1 'Tis gone, certainly. 

Sjnjit. Why, sir, I touched you not. 

Merl. Why, look you, uncle, I have it now. 
How ill do you look to HI Here, keep it 
safer. 

Clo. Ha, ha, this is fine i'faith. I must keep 
some other company, if you have these sleights 
of hand. 

Merl. Come, come, uncle, 'tis all my art, which 
shall not oti'end you, only I give you a taste of 
it, to show you sport. 

Clo. Oh, but 'tis ill jesting with a man's 
pockets, though ; but I am glad to see you 
cunning, cousin, for now will I warrant thee a 
living till thou diest. You have heard the news 
in Wales here 1 



THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 115 

Mtrl. Uncle, let me prevent ^ your care and 
counsel, 
'Twill give you hotter knowledge of my cunning. 
You "would i)refer me now, in hope of gain, 
To Vortiger, king of the Welch Britons, 
To whom are all the artists summoned now, 
That seek the secrets of futurity, 
The bards, the druids, wizards, conjurers. 
JS'ot an arusper - with his whistling spells, 
Ko capnomancer with his musty fumes, 
No M'itch or juggler, but is thither sent, 
To calculate the strange and feared event 
Of his prodigious castle, now in building. 
Where all the labours of the painful day 
Are ruined still i'tlie night : and to this place 
You would have me go. 

Clo. Well, if thy mother were not my sister, 
I would say she was a witch that begot thee. 
But this is thy father, not thy mother wit. 
Thou hast taken my tale into thy mouth, and 
spake my words before me. Therefore away ! 
shuflle thyself amongst the conjurers, and be a 
made man before thou comest of age. 

Merl. Nay, but stay, uncle. Yon overslip my 
dangers. 
The prophecies and all the cunning wizards 
Have certified the king that this liis castle 

* Prere7!< = anticipate, of. — ''Prevent us in all our 
doings," Ac. 

^ Arusper. Probably for auruspex, a bird-divincr. 
Capnomangter, for Capnomancer, a emoke-diviner. 
I 2 



116 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Can never stand, till the foundation's laid 
With mortar tempered witli the fatal blood 
Of such a child whose father was no mortal. 

Clo. What's this to thee 1 If the devil were 
thy father, was not thy mother born at Car- 
marden?^ Diggon for that then. And then 
it must be a child's blood, and who will take 
thee for a child with such a beard on thy face ? 
Is there not diggon * for that too, cousin 1 

Merl. I must not go. Lend me your ear a 
while, 
I'll give you reasons to the contrary. 

Enter two Gentlemen. 

\st Genth. Sure this is an endless piece of 
work the king has sent us about ! 

2nd Gentle. Kings may do it, man ; the like 
has been done to find out the unicorn. 

1st Gentle. Which will be sooner found, I 
think, than this fiend-begotten child we seek 
for. 

2nd Gentle. Pox of those conjurers that would 
speak of such a one, and yet all their cunning 
could not tell us where to find him. 

3 Ca.rmarde,}, i.e., Carmarthen, ^vhich the TTelsh 
call Caerfyrddin = the town of Mvrddin, the original 
form of the prophet's name, which was corrupted 
in English into Merlin. Shakespeare's Fluelin, for 
Lleivelyn, shows another Welsh letter corrupted. 

•* Tieck: — Genug. The word dig^jon, now spelt 
d'gon, is Welsh = eno"ag h. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 117 

1st Gentle. Ill Wales tliej say assuredly ho 
lives. Come, let's iiK^uire further. 

Merl. Uncle, your persuasions must not pre- 
vail Avith me. 
I know mine enemies better than you do. 

C/o. I say th'art a bastard, then, if thou 
<lisol)ey thine uncle. Was not Joan Go-too't, 
thy mother, my sister 1 If the devil were thy 
father, what kin art thou to any man alive, but 
baililfs and brokers 1 And they are but brothers- 
in-law to thee neither. 

1st Gentle. How's this ? I think we shall 
speed here. 

2nd Gentle. Ay, and unlooked for too. Go 
near and listen to them. 

Clo. Hast thou a beard to liide it "? Wilt 
thou show thyself a child ? Wilt thou have 
more hair than wit 1 Wilt thou deny thy 
mother, because nobody kuows thy father ? Or 
shall thine uncle be an ass 1 

\st Gentle. Bless ye, friend, pray what call 
you this small gentleman's name 1 

Clo. Small, sir ! a small man may be a great 
gentleman : his father may be of an ancient 
house, for aught we know, sir. 

2nd Gentle. Why, do you not know his 
father 1 

Clo. No, nor you neither, I think, unless the 
ilevil be in ye. 

\st Gentle. What is his name, sir? 

Clo, His name is my cousin, sir, his educa- 



118 THE bihth of merlin. 

tion is my sister's son, but his manners are his 
own. 

Merh Why ask je, gentlemen 1 'My name is 
Merlin. 

do. Yes, and a goshawk was his father, for 
aught we know, for I am sure his mother was a 
windsucker. 

2nd Gentle, He has a mother, then 1 

CIo. As sure as I have a sister, sir. 

\d Gentle. But his father you leave doubtful. 

Clo. Well, sir, as wise men as you doubt 
whether he had a father or no. 

1st Gentle. Sure this is he we seek for. 

2wf? Gentle. I think no less. And, sir^ we 
let you know the king hath sent for you. 

CIo. The more child he ; an he had been 
ruled by me^ he should have gone before he 
was sent for. 

1.5^ Gentle. May we not see his mother ? 

Clo. Yes, and feel her too if you anger her. 
A devilish thing, I can tell ye, she has been. 
I'll go fetch her to ye. 

[Exit. 

'Ind Gentle. Sir, it were fit you did resolve 
for speed. 
You must unto the king. 

Merl. My service, sir^ 

Shall need no strict command^ it shall obey 
Most peaceably. But needless 'tis to fetch 
What is brought home. My journey may be 
staid; 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 119 

The king is coming liither -with the same r|uest 
You bore before him. Hark ! His drum will 
tell ye. 

[]Vithi7i, drunis heat a ht>i' march. 
\st Gentle. This is some cunning indeed, sir. 

[Flourish. Enter Vortiger reading a letter, 
Proximus witli drum and soldiers, and others. 

Vorti. Still in our eye your message, Proxi- 
mus, 
We keep to spur our speed. Ostorius 
And Octa we shall salute with succour 
Against Prince Uter and Aurelius, 
Whom now we hear encamps at Winchester. 
There's nothing interrupts our way so much 
As doth the erection of this fatal castle, 
That, spite of all our art and daily labour, 
The night still ruins. 

Prox. As erst I did affirm, still I maintain. 
The fiend-begotten child must be found out 
AVhose blood gives strength to the foundation. 
It cannot stand else. 

Enter Clown, Merlin and Joan. 

Vorti. Ha ! Is it so ? Then, Proximus, 
P>y this intelligence he should be found. 
Speak, is this he you tell of 1 

Clo. Yes, sir, and I his uncle, and she his 
mother. 

Vorti. And who is his father? 



120 TEE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Clo. Why, she his mother can best tell you 
that. And yet I think the child be ^vise enough, 
for he has found his father. 

Vorti. Woman, is this thy son ? 

Joan. It is, my Lord. 

Vorti. What was his father, or where lives he 1 

Merl. Mother, speak freely and unastonished . 
That which you dared to act, dread not to name. 

Joan. In which I shall betray my sin and 
shame. 
But since it must be so, then know, great king, 
All that myself yet knows of him is this : — 
In 23ride of blood and beauty did I live ; 
My glass the altar was, my face the idol : 
Such was my peevish love unto myself. 
That I did hate all other ; such disdain 
Was in my scornful eye that I supposed 
xs"o mortal creature worthy to enjoy me. 
Thus, with the peacock, I beheld my train. 
But never saw the blackness of my feet. 
Oft have I chid the winds for breathing on me, 
And cursed the sun, fearing to blast my beauty. 
In midst of this most leperous disease, 
A seeming fair young man appeared to me. 
In all things suiting my aspiring pride, 
And with him brought along a conquering 

power, 
To which my frailty yielded, from whose em- 
braces 
This issue came. What more he is, I know 
not. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 121 

Vovii. Some Incubus or spirit of tlio night 
Begot liini tlien, for sure no mortal did it. 

Merl. No matter ^vlio, my Lord : leave fur- 
ther quest, 
Since 'tis as hurtful as unnecessary 
More to inquire. Go to the cause, my Lord, 
Why you have sought me thus. 

Vorli. I doubt not but thou know'st ; yet, to 
be plain, 
I sought thee for thy blood. 

Merl. J]y whose direction 1 

Prox. Ey mine. 
My art infallible instructed me ; 
Upon thy blood must the foundation rise 
Of the king's building, it cannot stand else. 

Merl. Hast thou such leisure to inquire my 
fate. 
And let thine own hang careless over thee ] 
Know'st thou what pendulous mischief roofs thy 

heati, 
How fatal and how sudden ? 

Prox. Pish! 
Bearded abortive, thou fortell my danger ! 
My Lord, lie trifles to delay his own. 

Merl. No, 
I yield myself, and here, before the king. 
Make good thine augury as I shall mine. 
If thy fate fall not, thou hast spoke all truth, 
And let my blood satisfy the king's desires. 
If thou thyself wilt write thine epitaph, 
Despatch it quickly, there's a minute's tim3 



122 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Betwixt thee and thy death. 

Prox. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

Merh Ay, so thou niayest die laughing. 

\_A stone falls and kills Proximus. 

Vorti. Ha ! This is above admiration. Look ! 
Is he dead 1 

CIo. Yes, sir. Here's brains to make mortar 
of, if you'll use them. Cousin Merlin, there is 
no more of this stone fruit ready to fal], is there ? 
I pray, give your uncle a little fair warning. 

Merl. Remove that shape of death. And now, 
my lord, 
For clear satisfaction of your doubts. 
Merlin will show the fatal cause that keeps 
Your castle down and hinders your proceedings. 
Stand there, and by an apparition see 
The labour and end of all your destiny. 
Mother and uncle, you must be absent. 

Clo. Is your father coming, cousin 1 

Merl. Nay, you must be gone. 

Joan. Come, you'll offend him, brother. 
Clo, I would fain see my brother-in-law. If 
you were married, I might lawfully call him so. 

[_Uu:eunt Clo. a7id Joan. Merlin stril'es his 
wand. Thunder and lightning. Two 
dragons appear, a white and a red ; theg 
fight a ivhile and pause. 

Vorti What means this stay 1 
Merl. Be not amazed, my Lord, for on the 
victory, 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 123 

Or loss or gain, as these two champions end, 
Your fate, your life and kingdom all dej^end. 
Therefore observe it well. 

Vorti. I shall. Heaven be auspicious to us ! 
[^Thunder. The tico drarjons fg^it again^ and 
the ichite drcKjoii d rices of the red. 
Vortl. The conquest is on the white dragon's 
part. 
Now, Merlin, faithfully expound the meaning. 
Merl. Your grace must then not be offended 

with me. 
Vorti. Is it the weakest part I've found in 
thee, 
To doubt of me so slightly ? Shall I blame 
My prophet that foretells me of my dangers 1 
Thy cunning I approve most excellent. 

jiferl. Then know, my lord, there is a dampish 
cave, 
The nightly habitation of these dragons, 
Vaulted beneath where you would build your 

castle, 
"Whose enmity and nightly combats there 
Maintain a constant ruin of your labours. 
To make it more plain — the dragons then 
Yourself betoken and the Saxon king. 
The vanquished red ^ is, sir, your dreadful 
emblem. 

'-> Red dragon, the National standard of the Britons. 
The Welsh use to this day, in their literary carnivals, 
the terrible picture of this animal to adorn pro- 
grammee, &c. 



124 THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 

Vorti. oil ! my fate. 

Merl. Nay, yoii must bear Avitli patience, 
royal sir. 
You slew the lawful King, Constantius. 
'Twas a red deed, your crown liis blood did 

cement. 
The English Saxon, first brought in by you, 
For aid against Constantius' brethren, 
Is the white horror " who, now knit together. 
Have driven and shut you up in these wild 

mountains. 
Ajid though they now seek to miite with friend- 
ship, 
It is to wound your bosom, not embrace it ; 
And, with an utter extirpation. 
To root the Britons out and plant the English, 
Seek for your safety, sir, and spend no time 
To build the airy castles, for Prince Uter, 
Armed with vengeance for his brother's blood, 
Is hard upon you. If you mistrust me, 
And to my words crave witness, sir; then 

know. 
Here comes a messenger to tell you so. 

[^E.vit Merl. Enter Messenger. 
Messen. My Lord, Prince Uter. 

^ Horror who. This is an instance of what is called 
sense construction. The relative here agrees in 
gender and number, not with the actual antecedent, 
but with what is therein implied, viz., horrid Saxons. 
This construction was very common in Greek. 



THE BIRTH OF IklERLIN. 125 

Vorii. And wlio else^ sir? 

Messen. Edol, tlie ^Tcat general. 

Vorti, The great devil ! 

They are coming to meet ns? 

^Lessen. AVith a full power, my lord. 

Vorti. With a full vengeance. 

They mean to meet ns ; so we are ready 
To their confront at full march double footing. 
AVe'll lose no ground, nor shall their numbers 

fright us. 
If it be fate, it cannot be withstood. 
We got our crown so, be it lost in blood. 

\_Exeunt. 

Scene II. 

Enter Prince Uter, Edol, Cador, Edwin, 
TocLio, and Soldiers with drurn. 

Prince. Stay, and advise. Hold, drum ! 

Edol. Beat, slave ! Why do you pause ? 
Why make a stand ? Where are our enemies ? 
Or do you mean we fight among ourselves 1 

Prin. Nay, noble Edol, let us here take counseL 
It cannot hurt ; 
It is the surest garrison to safety. 

Edol. Fie on such slow delays ! So fearful 
men, 
That are to pass over a flowing river, 
Stand on the bank to parley of the danger. 
Till the tide rise and they be swallowed. 



126 THE BIRTH OF ME RUN. 

Is not the king in field '? 

Cador. Proud Yortiger, the traitor, is in field. 
Edic. The murderer and usurper ! 
Edol. Let him be the devil, so I may fight 
■with him. 
For heaven's love, sir, march on I Oh, my 

patience ! 
"Will you delay until the Saxons come 
To aid his party ] 

[A tucJcef, 
Prince. There's no such fear. Prithee, be 
calm a while. 
Hark ! 
It seems by this he comes or sends to us. 

Edol. If it be for parley, I'll drown the sum- 
mons, 
If all our drums and hoarseness choke me not. 

Enter Captain. 

Prin. Xay, prithee, hear ! From whence art 
thou? " 

Cap. From the King Yortiger. 

Edol. Traitor ! There's none such. 

Alarum drum, strike, slave, or, by mine honour, 
1*11 break thy head and beat thy drumsticks 

both 
About thine ears. 

Prin. Hold, noble Edol ! 

Let's hear what articles he can enforce. 

Edol. What articles or what conditions 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 127 

Can you expect to value ^ half your wrong 1 
Unless he kill himself by thousand tortures, 
And send his carcase to appease your vengeance, 
For the foul murder of Constantius. 
And that's not a tenth part neither. 

Prin. Tis tnie. 

^ly brother's blood is crying to me now. 
I do applaud thy counsel. Hence, begone ! 

[Exit Captain'. 
We'll hear no parley now but by our swords. 
Edol. And those shall speak home in death- 
killing words. 
Alarum to the fight ! Sound, sound the alarum ! 

[Exeunt. 

Alarum, Re-enter Edol, driving aZ/ YoRTiGER'a 
forces before him : then exit. 

Scene III. 
Enter Prince Uter, pursuing Yortiger. 

Vorti. Dost follow me ? 

Frin. Yes, to thy death, I will. 

Vorti. Stay ! be advised ! 

I would not be the only fall of princes. 
I slew thy brother. 

Prin. Thou didst, black traitor, 

And in that vengeance I pursue thee. 

"i Value = io be worth, cf. — 

The peace between the French and us not values 

The cost that did conclude it. 

Shaks. Hen. VIII. (Act i., sc. 1.) 



128 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Vorti. Take mercy for thyself, and fly my 

sword. 
Save thine own life as satisfaction, 
Which here I give thee for thy brother's 

death. 
Trin. Give what's thine own — a traitor's heart 

and head — 
That's all thou art right lord of. The kingdom, 
Which thou nsurp'st, thou most unhappy tyrant, 
Is leaving thee. The Saxons, which thou 

brought'st 
To back thy usurpations, are grown great, 
And, where they seat themselves, do hourly 

seek 
To blot the records of old Brute and Britons 
¥rom memory of man, calling themselves 
Hingest-men and Hingest-land, that no more 
The Briton name be known. All this by 

thee, 
Thou base destroyer of thy native country. 

Unte-r Edol. 

EdoL What ! Stand ye talking 1 [Fights, 
Prill. Hold, Edol ! 

I^dol. Hold out, my sword ! 

And listen not to king or prince's word. 
There's work enough abroad. This task is mine. 

\_Alarum. 
Prin. Prosper thy valour, as thy virtues shine, 

[Exeunt, 



THE BIRTH OP MERLIN. 129 

Scene IV. 
Enter Cauor ajid Edwin. 

Cador. Bright victory herself figlits on our 
part, 
And, buckled in a golden beaver, rides 
Triumphantly before us. 

Ediv. Justice is with her. 

Who ever takes the true and rightful cause. 
Let us not lag behind them. 

Enter Prince. 

Cador. Here comes the prince ! How go our 
fortunes, sir? 

Prin. Hopeful and fair, brave Cador. 
Proud Vortiger, beat down by Edol's sword, 
Was rescued by the folio whig multitudes ; 
And now for safety's fled unto a castle 
Here standing on the hill. But I have sent 
A cry of hounds as violent as hunger. 
To break his stony walls. Or, if they fail. 
We'll send in wildfire to dislodge him thence. 
Or burn them all with flaming violence. 

lExeimt. 

Scene V. 

[_Dlazing star appears. Flourish trumpets. Enter 
Prince, Edol, Cador, Edwin, Toclio, ajid 
Soldiers with Drum. 

Prin. Look, Edol. Still this fiery exhalation 
shoots 



loO THE BIETH OF MERLIN. 

His frightful horrors on th' amazed world. 
See, in the beam that 'bout his flaming ring/ 
A dragon's head appears, from out whose mouth 
Two flaming lakes of fire stretch east and west. 

Edol. And see, from forth the body of the star. 
Seven smaller blazing streams directly point 
On this afl'righted kingdom. 

Cador. 'Tis a dreadful meteor.. 

Hdio, And doth portend strange fears. 
Prin. This is no crown of peace. This angry fire 
Has something more to burn than Yortiger : 
H it alone '^ were pointed at his fall. 
It would pull in his blazing pyramids. 
And be appeased, for Yortiger is dead. 

Edol. These never come without their large 

effects. 
Frin. The will of heaven be done ! Our sor- 
row 's this : — 
"NVe want a mystic Python ^ to expound 
This fiery oracle. 

^ Tieck : — In dem Feuerglanz, der es umgiebt, 
ersctieint. 

"We must either read liere, "that "bout it flaming 
ring"; or, taking 'hov.t as a verb = to go about^ 
surround, preserve the text, and interpret, "that 
goes about or surrounds his (the fiery exhalation's; 
flaming ring." 

^ J.Zone=only, c£, — "Man shall not live by bread 
alone." 

1 FytTion. Allusion to the oracle of Delphi, which 
■was guarded by the dragon Python, until it was 
killed by Apollo, who then took possession of the 
oracle. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 131 

Cador. 0\\, no, my lord. 

You have the best that ever Jh-itain bred; 
And, durst I prophecy of your propliet, sir, 
!N'ono Hke him sliall succeed him. 

Prin. You mean Merlin 1 

Cador* True, sir, wondrous Merlin. 
He met us in the way, and did foretell 
The fortunes of this day successful to us, 

Edw. He's sure about the camp. Send for 
him, sir. 

Cador. He told the bloody Vortiger his fate. 
And truly, too. And if I could give faitli 
To any wizard's skill, it should be Merlin's. 

Enter Merlin and Clowx. 

And see, my lord. 

As if to satisfy your Highness' pleasure. 

Merlin is come. 

Prin. See ! 
The comet's in his eye. Disturb him not. 

Edol. With what a piercing judgment he 

beholds it ! 
Merl. Whither will heaven and fate translate 
this kingdom 1 
What revolutions, rise and fall of nations, 
Is figured yonder in that star that sings 
The change of Britain's state and death of kings ? 
Ha ! he's dead already. How swiftly mischief 

creeps ! 
Thy fatal end, sweet prince, e'en Merlin weeps. 
K 2 



132 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Frin. He does foresee some evil. His action 
shows it ; 
For ere he does expound, he weeps the story. 

JEdoJ. There's another weeps too. — 
Sirrah, dost understand what thou lamentest for 1 

Clo. No, sir. I am his uncle, and weejD be- 
cause my cousin weeps. Flesh and blood cannot 
forbear. 

Prin. Gentle Merlin_, speak thy prophetic 
knowledge 
In explanation of this fiery horror, 
By which we gather, from thy mournful tears, 
Much sorrow and disaster in it. 

Merl. 'Tis true, fair prince. 

But you must hear the rest with patience. 

Frin. I vow^ I wdll, though it portend my ruin. 

Merl. There's no such fear. 
This brought the fiery fall of Vortiger, 
And yet not him ^ alone. This day is fall'n 
A king more good, the glory of our land, 
The mild and gentle, sweet Aurelius. 

Prin. Our brother ! 

Edol. Forefend it heaven ! 

Merl. He at his palace royal, sir, 
At Winchester, this day is dead and poison'd. 

Cador. By whom 1 or by w^iat means, Merlin ? 

Merl. By the traitrous Saxons. 

£dol. I ever feared as much. That devil 
Ostorius, 

- Him. We should have expected his, but liim is 
correct, and has a classic flavour about it. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLI>f. 133 

And that damned witch Artcsiuj sure, liave done 
it. 
Prin. Poisoned ! Oli, look further, gentle 
iMerlin. 
Behold the star a^^ain, and do hut find 
Revenge for me, tho' it cost a tliousand lives. 
And mine the foremost. 

Merl. Comfort yourself. The heavens have 
given it fully. 
All the portentous ills to you are told. 
Now hear a happy story, sir, from me. 
To you and to your fair posterity. 

Clo. Methinks I see something like a peeled 
onion. It makes me weep again. 

Merl. Be silent, uncle. You'll be forced 

else. 
Clo. Can you not find in the star, cousin, 
"whether I can hold my tongue or no 1 
Edol. Yes ; I must cut it out. 
Clo. Phu ! you speak without book, sir. My 
cousin Merlin knows. 

Merl. True, I must tie it up. — 
Now speak your pleasure, uncle. 
Clo. Hum, hum, hum, hum ! 
Merl. Sd, so! Now observe, my lord, and 
there behold 
Above yon flamediair'd beam that upward 

shoots. 
Appears a dragon's head, out of whose mouth 
Two streaming lights point their flame-feathered 
darts 



134 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

Contrary ways, yet both shall have their aims. 
Again hehold : from the igniferons body 
Seven splendent and illustrions rays are spread, 
All speaking heralds to this Briton isle. 
And thus they are expounded : — the dragon's 

head 
Is the hieroglyphic that figures out 
Your prince's self^ that here must reign as 

king. 
Those bi-formed fires, that from the dragon's 

mouth 
Shoot east and west^ emblem two royal babes^ 
Which shall proceed from you^ a son and 

daughter : 
Her pointed constellation north-west tending 
Crowns her a queen in Ireland, of whom first 

springs 
That kingdom's title to the Briton kings. 
Clo. Hum, hum, hum ! 
MerJ, But of vour son, thus fate and Merlin 

tells :— 
All after times shall fill their chronicles 
With fame of his renown, whose warlike 

sword 
Shall pass through fertile France and Germany, 
]Sror shall his conquering foot be forced to 

stand, 
Till Eome's imperial wreath hath crowned his 

fame 
AVith monarch of the west ; from whose seven 

hills 



THE BIRTH OP lIERLiy. 13") 

With conquest, and contributory ^ kings, 
He back returns to enlarge the Briton ])Ounds, 
His heraldry adorned with thirteen crowns. 
Clo. Hum, hum, hum ! 

Merl. He to the world shall add another 
worthy, 
And, as a loadstone, for his prowess draw 
A train of martial lovers to his court. 
It shall be then the best of knighthood's 

honour. 
At Winchester* to fill his castle hall. 
And at his royal taljle sit and feast 
In warlike orders, all their arms round hurled, 
As if they meant to circumscribe the world. 

[7/e touches the Clown's moutlt ivith 

his xvand. 
Clo. Hum, hum, hum ! Oh, that I could speak 
a little ! 

Merl. I know your mind, uncle. Again be 
silent. \_Strikes him again. 

Prin. Thou speak'st of wonders. Merlin, 
prithee, go on. 
Declare at full this constellation. 

Merl. Those seven beams pointing downwards,. 
sir, betoken 



3 Coidrihxdory — iv\h\xi2i.rj. 

■* Winclie^ter. Merlin is prophesyiug of Arthur's 
Knights and the Table Round. The author localises 
the Table Round at Winchester. According to the 
usual account Caerleon, on the Usk, was Arthur's 
capital. 



136 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

The troubles of this land, which then shall 

meet 
"With other fate. "War and dissension strive 
To make division, till seven kings agree, 
To draw this kingdom to a heptarchy. 

Frill. Thine art hath made such proof, that we 
believe 
Thy words authentical. Be ever near us, 
My prophet and the guide of all my actions. 

Merl. My service shall be faithful to your 
person, 
And all my studies for my country's safety. 

Clo. Hum, hum, hum ! 

j\Ierl. Come, you are released, sir. 

Clo. Cousin, pray help me to my tongue again. 
You do not mean I shall be dumb still, I hope. 

Merl. Why, hast thou not thy tongue 

Clo. Ha, yes, I feel it now. I was so long 
dumb, I could not well tell whether I spake or 
no. 

Prin. Is 't thy advice we presently pursue 
The bloody Saxons that have slain my brother I 

Merl. With your best speed, my lord. 
Prosperity will keep you company. 

Cador. Take then your title with you, royal 
prince : 
'Twill add unto our strength : Long live King 
Uter. 

Edol. Put the addition to 't that heaven hath 
given you. 
The dragon is your emblem ; bear it bravely, 



THE BIRTH OF MEHLIN. \-j7 

And so long live and over happy, styled 
liter Pendragon, lawful King of Ihitain. 

Frin. Thanks, Edol, ^vc embrace the name 
and title : 
And in our shield and standard shall the figure 
Of a red dragon still Ije borne before us, 
To fright the bloody Saxons. — Oh, my Aurelius, 
Sweet rest thy soul ; let thy disturbed spirit 
Expect revenge ; think what it would, it hath. 
The dragon's coming in his fiery wrath. 



ACT Y. 

Scene I. 



[Thunder, then music. 
Enter Joan fearfulhj, the Devil foUowinrj 
her. 

Joan. Hence, thou black horror ! Is thy lust- 
ful fire 
Kindled again? Not thy loud-throated thunder, 
Nor thy adulterate infernal music, 
Shall e'er bewitch me more. Oh, too, too much 
Is past already ! 

Bevil. Why dost thou fly me % 

I come a lover to thee, to embrace, 
And gently twine thy body in mine arms. 

Joan, Out, thou hellhound ! 

Devil. What hound soe'er I be. 



138 THE BIEIH OF MERLIN. 

Fawning and sporting, as I would w^itli thee, 
AYliy should I not be stroked and played 

withal ? 
Wilt thou not thank the Lion^ might devour 

thee, 
If he shall let thee pass, 

Joan. Yes, thou art he. 

Free n]e_, and I'll thank thee. 

JDevil. Why, whither would'st 1 

I am at home with thee^ thou art mine own. 
Have w^e not charge of family together ? 
Where is your son 1 

Joan. Oh, darkness cover me. 

Devil. There is a pride which thou hast won 
by me. 
The mother of a fame,^ shall never die. 
Kings shall have need of written chronicles 
To keej) their names alive, but Merlin none. 
Ages to ages shall, like Sabalists,^ 

'' The lio;i miglit = that might. Eelative omitted, 

^ i^a)iie = famous son. Abstract for concrete. 

'' SahaJists. — Tieck ignores this word entirely — 
" doch Merlin's Ruhm Geht von Jahrhundert zu Jahr- 
hundert fort." 

The image in the text well agrees with the lampa- 
dephoria, a contest in Greece, wherein one runner 
handed a torch to another, and this other ran with 
it over his allotted distance to deliver it to the nest, 
&c., till the lighted torch had passed through the 
hands of all, and reached the goal. Lucretius' fine 
simile of life drawn from this contest is well known — 

Et quasi cursores vital lampada tradunt. 
Bat who were the Sabalists ? They had nothing to 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 130 

Roport tlie wonders of liis name and glory, 
AViiile there are tongues and times to tell his 

story. 
Joan. Oh, rot my memory hefore my flesh, 
Let him he called some hell- or earth-horn 

monster, 
That ne'er had hapless woman for a mother : 
Sweet death, deliver me ! — Hence from my 

sight ! 
Why shonld'st thou now appear ? I had no 

pride 
Nor lustful thought about me, to conjure 
And call thee to my ruin, when, as at first. 
Thy cursed person became visible. 
Dcfil. I am the same I was. 
Joan. But I am changed. 

Devil. Again I'll change thee to the same 

thou wert, 
Quench^ to my lust. — Come forth, by thunder 

led, 
My coadjutors in the spoils of mortals, 

[ Th u n der. Enter Spirits, 
Clasp in your ebon arms that prize of mine, 
Mount her as high as pallid Hecate ; 
And on this rock I'll stand to cast up fumes 
And darkness o'er the blue-faced firmament. 

do with the JampadepJwria. May Sahalists be a mis- 
print for Cahalists, the dealers iu tradition par 
excellence ? 

^ Quench. Here a noun. By means of the article, 
the Greeks could convert any verb into a nouu. 



140 THE BIUTH OF MERLIN. 

From Britain and from jMerlin I'll remove her: 
They ne'er shall meet again. 

Joan. Help me, some saving hand ! 

If not too late, I cry : Let mercy come ! 

Enter Merlin. 

Merl. Stay you, black slaves of night, let loos« 
your hold, 
Set her down safe, or, by th' infernal Styx, 
I'll bind you up Avith exorcisms so strong. 
That all the black pentagoron^.of hell 
Shall ne'er release you. Save you selves and 
vanish. 

[Exeunt Spirits, 
DemJ. Ha ! what is he ? 

Merl. The child has found his father. 

Do you not know me ? 
Devil. Merlin. 

Joan. Oh ! help me, gentle son. 

Merl. Fear not ; they shall not hurt you. 

^ Pentagoron — (Tieck : Die gesammte Macht) — con- 
veys no meaning to me. I take it to be a misprint for 
Pantagoron, compounded clumsily of 2'f^ (part = all) 
and agora (assembly) ; and therefore to mean the 
entire assembly of devils, in fact, pandemonmm. But 
Pentagoron may, after all, be some technical term of 
the "magic art," cf.: — 

The great arch-ruler, potentate of hell, 
Trembles when Bacon bids him or his friends 
Bow to the force of his penfageron. 

Greene, Friar Bacon. 
See Hunter's Dictionary, sub. voc. Pentagcron. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 1 1 1 

Deril. Pieliev'st thou lier, to disobey thy 
fatlier 1 

Merl. Obedience is no lesson in your school. 
Nature and kind/ to her commands my duty. 
'J'he part that you begot was a^^'ainst kind, 
8o all I owe to you is to be unkind.'- 

Devil. I'll blast thee, slave, to death, and on 
this rock 
Stick thee as an eternal monument. 

Merl. Ha, ha ! Thy power's too weak. What 
art thou, Devil, 
But an inferior lustful Incubus, 
Taking advantage of the wanton flesh, 
Wherewith thou dost beguile the ignorant 1 
Pat off the form of thy humanity, 
And crawl upon thy speckled belly, serpent, 
Or I'll unclasp the jaws of Acheron, 
And fix thee ever in the local ^ fire. 

Devil. Traitor to hell ! Curse that I e'er begot 
thee. 

Merl. Thou did'st beget thy scourge. Storm 
not, nor stir. 

* iLtiicZ = relation by blood, cf. : — 

At the last they chased out the Britons so clean 
Away unto "Wales their kind is I -vveen. 

Robert de Brunne. 

- This line is probably a gloss on the preceding, 
and no part of the original play. 

•* Local seems to mean in the place; so that local 
fire = the fire that is therein — a use of local for which 
the Dictionaries oflfer no parallel, but the use of the 
Gieek word iyx(*>pios answers exactly. 



142 THE BIRTH OP MERLIX. 

The poAver of ^leilin's art is all confirmed 
In tlie fates' decretals. I'll ransack hell, 
And make thy masters bow unto my spells. 
Thou first shall taste it. 

[TJiunder and ligldning in the rock. 

^ Tenebrarum precis, divitiarum et inferorum 
deus, hunc incubum in ignis eterni abyssum 
accipite, aut in hoc carcere tenebroso in sempi- 
ternuni astringere mando. 

\_The rock encloses the Devil. 
So ! there beget earthquakes or noisome damps. 
For never shalt thou touch a woman more. 
How cheer you, mother 1 

Joan. Oh, now my son is my deliverer. 

Yet I must name him with my deepest sorrow. 

[Alarum afar off. 

Merh Take comfort now : past times are ne'er 
recalled. 
I did foresee your mischief and prevent it. 
Hark, how the sounds of war now call me hence 
To aid Pendragon, that in battle stands 
Against the Saxons ; from whose aid 
Merlin must not be absent. Leave this soil, 
And I'll conduct you to a place retired. 
Which I by art have raised, called Merlin's 
bower. 

■* " Oh ! prince of darkness, God of riches and of 
hell, make room for this incubus in the abyss of 
eternal fire, or I commission you to bind him up in 
this dark prison for ever." Precis misprint iovprcpses. 

Accipite is probably an error for accipere. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 143 

There shall you dwell with solitary si^hs, 
AVith groans and passions, your companions, 
To weep away this Uesh you have oil'endcd with, 
And leave all hare unto your aerial soul. 
And when you die, I will erect a monument' 
Tpon the verdant plains of Salishury — 
(Xo king shall have so high a sepulcre) — 
With pendulous stones that I Avill hang by art, 
AVhere neither lime nor mortar shall be used, 
A dark enigma to the memory, 
For none shall have the power to number them. 
A place that I Avill hallow for your rest, 
Where no night-hag shall walk, nor werwolf 

tread, 
AVhere Merlin's mother shall be sepulcred. 



Scene IT. 

Eiifer DoNOBERT, Gloster, aiid Hermit. 

Dono. Sincerely, Gloster, I have told you all. 
iNIy daughters are both vowed to single life, 
And this day gone unto the nunnery, 
Though I begot them to another end, 
And fairly promised them in marriage, 
One to Earl Cador, th' other to your son, 

^ Monument. Our poet regards Stonehenge and its 
megalithic wonders as the sepulchre of Merlin's 
mother. 



144 IHE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

My worthy friend, the Earl of Gloster. 

Those lost, I am lost. They are lost, all's lost. 

Answer me this, then : Is 't a sin to marry 1 

Her. Oh, no, my lord. 

Dono. Go to, then ! I will go no further 
with you. 
I persuade you to no ill. Persuade you, then/ 
That I persuade you well. 

GIos. 'Twill be a good office in you^ sir. 

Efiter Cador a7id Edwix. 
Dono. AVhich since they thus neglect, 
My memory shall lose them, now for ever. 
See^ see the noble lords, their promised hus- 
bands ! 
Had fate so pleased, you might have called me 
father. 
Udw. Those hopes are passed, my lord, for 
even this minute 
We saw them both enter the monastery, 
Secluded from the world and men for ever. 

Cador. 'Tis both our griefs we cannot, sir. 
But from the king take you the time's joy from 

us. 
The Saxon king Ostorius slain, and Octa fled ; 
That woman-fury. Queen Artesia, 
Is fast in hold, and forced to redeliver 
London and Winchester, which she had forti- 
fied, 

^ Then. Tieck reads, them. No change is neces- 
sarv. 



THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 11-5 

To princely ULt;r, lately styled ren<liaLCoii, 
\\'\u) now triunii>]iantly is marching; liitlier, 
To be invested with the Briton crown. 

D<>?io. The joy of this sliall hanish from my 
hreast 
All thou.i^'ht that I was fatlier to two children, 
Two stubborn dau^diters that have left me thus. 
Tx't my old arms embrace and call you sons ; 
Vor, by the honour of my father's house, 
I'll part my estate most ecjually betwixt you. 

Edwin awl Cador. Sir, you are most noblo. 

[^Flourish irump'fs. EnfrrYjDoi. ici/h drum and 
colours, Oswald hearing the standard, 
TocLio the shii'ld, frith the red dragon pic- 
tured in them ; two IJisiiurs witJi the cronni^ 
Prince Uter, Merlin, Artesia (hound), 
Guard, and Clown. 

Prin. Set up our shield and standard, noble 
soldiers. 
'We have firm hope that, th ou^^di our dragon sleep, 
^Merlin -will us and our fair kingdom keep, 

Cfo. As his uncle lives, I warrant you. 

Glos. Happy restorer of the Briton's fame, 
Uprising sun, let us salute thy glory ; 
Ride in a day perpetual about us, 
And no night be in thy throne's zodiac. — 
AVhy do we stay to bind those princely brows 
With this imperial honour 1 

Prin. Stay, noble Glostcr ? 

L 



146 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

That monster first must be expelled our eye, 
Or we shall take no joy in it. 

Dono. If that be hindrance, give her quick 
judgment, 
And send her hence to death; she's long de- 
served it. 
JEclol. Let my sentence stand for all. Take 
her hence, 
And stake her carcase in the burning sun, 
Till it be parched and dry ; and then flay off 
Her wicked skin, and stuff the pelt with straw. 
To be shown up and down at fairs and markets. 
Twopence a-piece to see so foul a monster 
Will be a fair monopoly, and worth the beg- 

Artes. Ha_, ha, ha ! 

Edol. Dost laugh^ Erictho 1 

Artes. Yes, at thy poor invention. 
Is there no better torture-monger *? 
Bono. Burn her to dust. 
Aries. That is a Phoenix' death, and glorious. 
Edol. Ay, that 's too good for her. 
Pym. Alive she shall be ])uried_, circled in a 
wall.— 
Thou murderess of a king, there starve to 
death. 
Artes. Then I'll starve death when he comes 
for his prey^ 
And i' the meantime I'll live upon your curses. 
Edol. Ay, 'tis diet good enough. Away with 
her ! 



THE BIR'in OF MKRLIN. 147 

Arff'S. With joy, my best of wishes is before ; 
The brotlier's poisoned^ but I Avanted more. 

[Exit. 
Piin. Wliy does our prophet Merlin stand 

apart, 
■vSadly observing these our ceremonies, 
And not applaud our joys with thy hid know- 
ledge ? 
Let thy divining art now satisfy 
Some part of my desires ; for well I know, 
'Tis in thy power to show the full event 
That shall both end our reign and chronicle. 
Sjieak, learned ]\Ierlin, and resolve my fears, 
"Whether by war we shall expel the Saxons, 
Or govern what we hold in beauteous peace 
In Wales and Britain? 

J\IerJ. Long happiness attend Pendragon's 
reign ! 
"What heaven decrees, fate hath no power to 

alter. 
The Saxons, sir, will keep the ground they 

have ; 
And, l)y supplying numbers, still increase 
Till Britain be no more. So please your grace, 
I will, in visible apparitions, 
Present you prophecies which shall concern 
Succeeding princes, which my art shall raise, 
Till men shall call those times the latter days. 

Prin. Do it, my Merlin, 
And crown me with joy and wonder. 

[31erlin strikes. 
L 2 



148 THE BIRTH OF MERLIN. 

IHauthoi/s. Enter a King in armour, his shield 
quartered with thirteen crouiis. At the 
other door enter divers Prixces, u'ho pre- 
sent their crowns at his feet and do him 
homage : then enters Death and strikes 
him: he, growing sicK; cro W7is Constaxtine. 

[Exeunt^ 
JlerJ. This king, my lord_, presents your royal 
son, 
AVho in his prime of years shall le so fortunate. 
That thirteen several princes shall present 
Their several crowns to him ; and all kings else 
Shall so admire his fame and victories, 
That they shall all be glad, through fear or love, 
To do him homage. 
But death, who favours neither weak nor 

valiant, 
In the midst of all his glories^ soon shall seize 

him. 
Scarcely permitting him time to appoint one 
In all his purchased kingdoms to succeed hiiu» 

Frin. Thanks to our prophet, 
For this so Avished-for satisfaction. 
And hereby now we learn that always fate 
Must be observed, whatever that decree. 
All future times shall still record this story 
Of Merlin's learned worth and Arthur's glory. 

[Exeunt omnes, 

FINIS. 



THE LIKE AND DEATH 

OF 

THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 



INTRODUCTION 



TO 



THOMAS LORD CROMAVELL. 



AXALYSIS OF THE PLAY. 

The tirst act opens in a forge at Putney. Tlie 
journeymen of old Cromwell are going early to 
work, and the conversation turns to the young 
prodigy in the old smith's house, who, it is said, 
made a tremendous " coil " last night working at 
his books and using his scientific instruments, for 
he was dabbling with the stars. In the mean- 
time young Tom, his head full of thoughts and 
his mind full of ambitious projects, salutes the 
morn and apostrophises knowledge, which is to 
be his guide to fame : — 

'* 0, learning, how divine thou seemst to me 
AVithin whose arms is all felicity." 

Presently old Cromwell arrives upon the scene 
and vigorously scolds the loitering journeymen, 
telling them to set to work at once. But young 



152 INTRODUCTION 10 

Tom endeavours to stop the workmen, because the 
noise of their hammers interferes with his studies, 
and gives his father an idea of that splendour 
which his presaging soul promises to him ; 
among other items in the glorious vision is a 
palace " as fair as that at Sheen." In order not 
to expose a father's fond weakness before his 
journeymen, old Cromwell remarks : — 

" Well, had I bound him to some honest trade, 
This had not been : but 'twas his mother's 

doing 
To send him to the university." 

But probably the father on this occasion dreamed 
the mother's dreams of his son's future fame, for 
he says, in an aside, to his son : — 

^' As fair as that at Sheen 1 They shall not hear 
me. 
A good boy, Tom ; I con thee thank, Tom : 
Well said, Tom ; gramercy, Tom." 

And then, reassuming the tone of a master and 

of a father who will not stoop to trifles, he gives 

orders : — 

" In to your work, knaves ! hence, you saucy 

toy:-' 

After this, young Tom takes courage from a 
consideration of the antecedents of his contem- 
poraries. He asks himself : — 
" Why should my birth keep down my mounting 
spirit ? 



THOMAS LOUD CROMWELL. 153 

Are not all creatures siil)ject unto time, 
To time who cloth abuse the cheated world, 
And fills it full of hodge-podge bastardy 1 
There's legions now of beggars on the earth, 
That their original did spring from kings ; 
And raany monarchs now, wliose fathers were 
The riff-rair of their age ; for time and fortune 
Wears a noble train to beggary." 

There was the river Thames, which from small 
beginnings grew into a sea, as there was Wolsey, 
the wonder of his age, though but a butcher's 
son. These reflections bid him say : — 

"Then, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and tell thy 
soul 
That thou may'st live to flourish and controul." 

The London merchants were in the habit of 
employing the blacksmith's son's genius to write 
petitions for them to the Council, one of whom 
Mr. Bowser comes to offer him the post of 
secretary to his company at Antwerp, an offer 
which the young man's thirst for travel and 
experience eagerly accepted. 

We are now brought face to face with a 
generous Florentine merchant, of the name of 
Frescobald ; a decayed English trader named 
Banister ; and a most ungrateful wretch, Bagot. 
Bagot had got Banister arrested at the suit of 
Frescobald, to whom the latter owed a thousand 
pounds, and repaired to the Florentine's residence 
to open his eyes with regard to Banister's wicked 



154 INTRODUCTION TO 

ways, in the hope of a good reward for his 
officiousness. Frescobald was reluctant to believe 
Bagot's tale, and his reluctance was converted 
into a belief in Banister's honesty by the arrival 
of that unfortunate man, accompanied by his 
wife and two officers. The Florentine melted 
at Mrs. Banister's tale of woe, and agreed to 
wait until her husband would be able to pay 
him, nobly adding, — 

" But yet if still your fortune frown, 
Upon my faith I'll never ask a crown." 

Bagot departs, in great dudgeon, to buy up 
Banister's debts in order to be able to wreak his 
vengeance on the merchant- banker, from whose 
trencher he had often fed. Thus ends the first 
Act. 

Cromwell is dissatisfied with his position at 
Antwerp, which was not suitable to his mounting 
mind, and is setting his house and accounts in 
order, preparatory to taking his leave for Italy. 
Mrs. Banister, who with her husband had gone 
to Antwerp to escape prosecution and imprison- 
ment, has an interview with the secretary, who 
relieves her immediate wants, and promises to 
do what he can for her by interceding with 
Bagot. On the street at Antwerp he meets 
Bagot, who had followed Banister, as well to 
feed his revenge, as to do a little business in 
certain jewels gotten by questionable means. 
Cromwell's intercession for the Banisters has no 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 155 

effect on Eagot's lieart, Avhicli knew only two 
passions, vindictivcness and avarice. Next, 
Cromwell meets Hodge, one of his father's 
journeymen, who had risked a — to him — very 
unpleasant voyage in order to see his idol. On 
seeing him, Hodge exclaims : — " ]Master Thomas, 
( ) God ! Master Tliomas, your hand, glove and 
all. This is to give you to understand that 
your father is in health, and Alice Downing 
here hath sent you a nutmeg, and Bess ^Make- 
water a race of ginger; my fellows, "Will and 
Tom, hath between tliem sent you a dozen of 
points ; and goodman Toll, of the Goat, a pair 
of mittens; myself came in person." Cromwell 
asks Hodge if he will bear him company to Italy. 
The old servant waxes familiar as he replies : — 
" Will I bear thee company, Tom 1 AVhat tell'st 
me of Italy 1 Were it to the farthest part of 
Flanders, I would go with thee, Tom : I am thine 
in all weal and woe ; thy own to command." 

In another street Bagot is negotiating the sale 
of jewels with the Governor of the English 
Factory, who puts in a word on behalf of the 
] banisters. But Bagot is remorseless. Mrs. Banis- 
ter has recourse to prayer. In vain, for Bagot 
coolly observes: — 

" Alas, fond woman ! I pr'y thee pray thy worst ; 
The fox fares better still when he is curst." 

But Mr. Bow\ser, who is on the track of Bagot 
lor buying jewels stolen from the treasury, 



156 INTEODUCTION TO 

arrests him. Bagot's cool villainy accepts the 
situation Avithout repining ; he says : — 

*' The devil owed me a shame, and now hath 

paid it." 
It was paid on a London gallows, and his con- 
fiscated property gave lianister a new start in 
life, for, as the king assigned that property to 
the Antwerp Company, that company in turn 
gave it to Banister^ 

" A brother of their company, 

A man decayed by fortune of the seas." 

Thus ends the second act with a high compli- 
ment to the virtue of the London guilds in the 
seventeenth century. But the virtue and the 
guild have been long dead. 

Master Thomas and Hodge are gaining expe- 
rience the reverse of pleasant. At the opening of 
the third act, they are standing, clad in shirts 
and hats, on the bridge cf Florence. Their super- 
fluous clothing had been appropriated by a gang 
of banditti. They are soliciting the alms of 
passers-by, a placard having been written to ex- 
plain the cause of their presenting themselves in 
such a bare condition. Hodge is lamenting the 
fact that his companion had never learned to make 
a horse-shoe. Cromwell is ever hopeful. By-and- 
b}"-, Frescobald, who loved the English nation, 
passed, relieved the beggars, and promised 
further help if necessary. The future Vicar- 
General thanks his benefactor : — 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 15/ 

" Your charity liath heli)e(l me in despair, 
Your name sliall still be in my hearty prayer," 

and sets out for Bononia, in turn to relieve a 
distressed countryman, a scion of the house of 
Russell, though Hodge was decidedly of opinion 
that they could do no better than continue 
their lucrative calling on Florence Ijridge, for 
" we sliall get," he says, " more with begging in 
one day than I shall with making hoi-se-shoes 
in a whole year." 

At Bononia, Russell disdains to surrender 
his person to the citizens, whom he suspected 
of a wish to betray him to the French. The 
Fnglish nobleman threatens, in a somewhat 
hectoring style, to stab the first Bononian that 
approaches him. While the city autlioritie.'> 
were at their wits' end, an insinuating Neapoli- 
tan undertakes, by his mere eloquence, to per- 
suade the English nobleman. The Neapolitan 
and his servant are admitted .to the prisoner's 
chamber, who are, of course, none other thai> 
Cromwell and his comical companion Hodge. 
The nobleman and the farrier exchange clothes,, 
in order to smooth the former's escape. It is a 
very humorous scene. Cromwell asked Hodge 
how he felt now that he wore a nobleman's 
clothes. " How do I feel myself 1 " quoth 
Hodge, '' why, as a nobleman should do. O, 
how I feel honour come creeping on ! My no- 
bility is wonderful melancholy. Is it not most 
gentlemanlike to be melancholy V Then turn- 



158 IXTRODUCTION TO 

ing to the Earl of Eadford, he asks : — "But 
hark, my lord ; do you feel nothhig bite about 
3'ou ? " Receiving an answer in the negative, 
he philosophizes thus : — " Ay, they know they 
want their old pasture. 'Tis a strange thing of 
this vermin, they meddle not with nobility." 
Left alone by the departure of the Earl and 
Cromwell, ennobled by the grace of Russell's 
tailor, Hodge writes a letter to a friend at 
home : — '* Fellow AVilliam^ I am not as I have 
been : I went from you a smithy I write to you 
as a lord. I am at present writing among 
the Polonian sausages. I do commend my 
lordship to Ralph, and to Roger, to Bridget, 
and to Dorothv, and so to all the youth of 
Putney." 

The scene shifts from Bononia to the house 
of Sir Christopher Hales, in London, who is 
haying the honour of entertaining the great 
Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas More, and Gar- 
<liner. Sir Christopher doubts not that the 
banquet will be a success, for the master of the 
feast is Thomas Cromwell, who is now in his 
service. The Cardinal perceives that there is a 
great soul in his host's servant, and asks Sir 
Christopher to ])art with him. AYolsey had 
only to ask : Cromwell is transferred to the 
Cardinal's service. 

The fourth act opens with the Dukes of Nor- 
folk and of Suffolk successfully fishing out of 
Cromwell's keeping certain writings which are 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 159 

tlionglit to coniproini.se liis fallen master, of 
wliom he says : — 

'' His sudden death I ;^a'ievc for, not his fall, 
Because he sought to work my country's thrall." 

Then promotions are showered on Cromwell. 
Ere one messenger has finished notifying one 
ascent on the ladder of honour, aiKjther comes 
to bid the smith's son mount still higher. From 
simple Tiiomas he passes through knighthood to 
the upper chamber, and the first pLice in the 
council of the nation, and in the confidence of 
his king. His success exposes liim to the envy 
of disappointed rivals. Gardiner gives utterance 
to the sentiments of this faction : — 

" My envy with his honour now is bred : 
I hoi)e to shorten Cromwell by the head." 

Frescobald, the generous Florentine, has been 
sorely buffeted by fortune since the day he re- 
lieved the wants of two distressed Englishmen 
on Florence bridge. Spurned by those whom 
he, in the hour of his prosperity, had assisted, 
and in utter wretchedness, he lies down in a 
street before Cromwell's door — to die. To the 
same street come Seely and Joan, mine host 
and hostess of Ilounslow, who had, in days gone 
by, acted to young Master Tom the part of 
parents, but now they also were in distress. They 
are come to see whether the great statesman 
remembers them, and whether remembering, he 
will relieve. Joan has no hope, for she quotes 



IGO INTRODUCTION TO 

the proverb, " Set beggars a horseback and 
they'll ride " to a land where gratitude is scorned. 
Seely is resolved were the vicar-general ten lords 
to tell him roundly that cheese and bacon were 
not gotten at Hounslow for nothing. Hodge 
enters with a tip-stafi"; then Cromwell with the 
mace carried before him ; followin-;^ him are the 
Dukes of Xorfolk and Suffolk. The tip-staff 
would kick away the beggars who crowded about 
his master's doors. Seely gives expression to 
his indignation. But Cromwell recognizes — 

" My honest host of Hounslow and his wife " 

acknowledges an old debt that he owed to the 
kind-hearted man, pays him, and gives order that 
Seely should receive an annuity from the great 
Lord : to cap all, Seely and Joan are com- 
manded to stay to dinner. Mine host was 
amazed and rejoiced : he said, '^ Art not changed I 
art old Tom still ? Now God bless thee, good 
Lord Tom. Home, Joan, home : I'll dine with 
my Lord Tom to-day, and thou shalt come next 
week. Fetch my cow : home, Joan, home.'^ 
Gardiner joins the procession, between whom and 
Cromwell a controversy arises respecting certain 
abbey lands, and the wrongs done to religion. 
After ordering Hodge to request Frescobald's 
presence at dinner, Cromwell, surrounded by 
proud nobles and haughty prelates, proceeds to 
the Convocation House. Now there enters an old 
man dressed in the garb of a Yorkshire farmer. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 161 

ami hearing tliat one Cronnvell was in;i«lr 
lord keoj)(;r, lie resolves to sl'C that Cioinwcll. 
There will be no dilliciilty. Abbey lands, refor- 
niation of religion ami allairs of state must bide 
their turn ; the great lord keeper will do no 
violence to his heait. The oM man is his father, 
removed from the Putney forge to till the ground 
in Yorkshire. AVhat matters it to Lord Crom- 
well that the priile of England's nobility is around 
him, and that the old man is clad in homely stuff ? 
That old man is his father — a sufhcient answer 
to all questions. Seeing old Cromwell, the tith"-' 
ennobling son exclaims : — 

" ^[y aged father! State then set aside, 
Father, upon my knee I crave your blessing.' 

And the old man : — 

" Now if I die, how happy were the day ! 
To see this comfort, rains forth showers of joy." 

This dutifulness is better than a palace " as fair 
as that at Sheen," is it not, old Thomas Cromwell '? 

AVhile Frescobald is wondering, not without 
feelings of fear, what the Lord Chancellor wanted 
him for. Banister and his wife, now in good 
circumstances, come up to him, repay him the 
long-standing debt, and assure him that he will 
tind in the Lord Chancellor a '' kind and noble 
gentleman." 

The kindred an<l benefactors of the great 
minister are in his house awaiting his commands. 



"JG2 INTRODUCTION TO 

Cromwell enters, accompanied by great lords, 
l)receded by the usher, who commands all to un- 
cover. The son's first care was that dear old 
Yorkshire farmer who, like all the rest, had 
obeyed the usher. Says the son : — 

" Xay, be covered, father : 
Although that duty to these noblemen 
Doth challenge it, yet I will make bold with 

them. 
Your head doth bear the calendar of care. 
"What ! Cromwell covered, and his father bare 1 
It must not be 1 " 

Frescobald is next comforted, and Seely obtained 
a nod of recognition before the Lord Chancellor 
proceeds to relate a little of his past life and the 
debt he owes to these three : — 

" Here stands my father, that first gave me life ; 
Alas, what duty is too much for him 1 
This man in time of need did save my life ; 
I, therefore, cannot do too much for him. 
By this old man I oftentimes was fed. 
Else might I have gone supperless to bed. 
Such kindness have I had of these three men, 
That Cromwell no way can repay again." 

In the Bishop of Winchester's house the devil 
of envy is plotting crime. A servant of Him, who 
commanded his followers to love their enemies, 
is making witnesses to swear to this charge for 
the honour of Holv Church : — 



THOMAS LOHD CROMWELL. 103 

*' That you heard Cromwt^ll, tlie Lord Chancellor, 
Did wish a da^'ger at King Henry's heart." 

This is the first step taken by Gardiner to shorten 
his rival by the head. Norfolk and Suffolk 
readily enter into the plot to overthrow the up- 
start plebeian. 

The fifth act shows the dark wcb weaving, the 
arrest of Cromwell, the haughty contempt of his 
triumphing rivals, and, sweet as sunshine after 
shower, Bedford weeping for his friend's cruel 
destiny. The sight gladdens Cromwell's heart ; 
he says : — 

^' dear friend Bedford, dost thou stand sonearl 
Cromwell rejoiceth one friend sheds a tear." 

We hear the opinion of the masses, in the next 
scene, respecting the great minister ; and, as 
nearly always, their untutored instinct arrives 
at the true reason of his fall. True, he was 
generous, charitable, and noble, but he was 
great; and 

*' The shrub is safe, when as the cedar shakes." 

Cromwell meditates in the Tower on his state 
and the romance of his life, and fixes his gaze 
on two points therein, the height of his position 
and the suddenness of his fall. Xow he be- 
thinks him of Bedford's letter which he received 
yesterday while on the way to Lambeth, and of 
which he reserved the reading to a more quiet 
hour. It was a warning to him from the rescued 
M 2 



164 INTRODUCTION TO 

prisoner of Bononia not to trust himself to Lam- 
beth. Alas, it is all too late now. Presently, 
the peers and prelates enter to see Cromwell 
executed, who desires somebody to carry from 
him a message to the king. Nobody was willing 
to do him this service. He appealed to his 
servant, Sir Ralph Sadler^ who promptly under- 
takes the office. But Gardiner handed to the 
lieutenant the king's warrant for Cromwell's 
execution. The minister accepted it with dig- 
nity, and after warmly denying that he was a 
traitor, bid the lords tell the king : — 

" In what sort his Cromwell died, 
To lose his head before his cause was tried ; 
But let his Grace, when he shall hear my name, 
Say only this : Gardiner procured the same." 

Having given his son very wholesome advice, 
forgiven the executioner, and affectionately em- 
braced Bedford_, he is led forth to execution, and 
the reader feels the truth of Bedford's observa- 
tions, when read in the light of the subsequent 
events of England's history: — 

" Well, lords, I fear that when this man is dead, 
You'll wish in vain that Cromwell had a head." 

Sir Ralph Sadler duly performed his task, and 
successfully, for he returned with a reprieve 
from the king ; but it was too late. The pos- 
sible consequences of the crime are intimated by 
Gardiner : — 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL, 1 G.") 

** ^ly coiisciciicL' iiuw tells mc; this deed wa.s ill. 
AVould Chiitit tliat Croiinvell were alive again ! " 

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS. 

" Tlionias Cronnvc.-ll " is a l>i()f,'raj)hicul drama ; 
a literary iield in whicli it is admittedly dillicult 
to achieve success. The author of this play, 
however, has achieved considerable success : he 
lias given iiromincncc to the prominent features 
of his hero's life, its romance, its glory, and 
tragic termination ; he has emphasized the 
salient points of his hero's character, his largo 
heart and ample benevolence ; and ho has kept 
in the background whatever there was in Crom- 
well's character to awaken hostility or disappro- 
bation. There are in the play several passages 
of considerable poetic beauty, and many very 
effective dramatic situations. The reader must 
not take all the writer's history for facts : for 
instance, Cromwell was never, as the play tells 
ns he was, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, nor 
did he succeed Sir Cliristopher Hales as Master 
of the KoUs, but tilled that ollicc before Sir 
Christopher. 

This play has been ascribed to Shakespeare. 
Schlegel held it lo be one of Shakespeare's best 
works. The learned German is in error, surely. 
Xeither in its tone, structure, or literary execu- 
tion is there the least trace of Shakespeare's hand 
or of Shakespeare's mind. ]>ut, perhaps, to 
the general reader a more conclusive, because 



166 INTRODUCTION TO 

more obvious, proof of the vast gulf which sepa- 
rates our author from Shakespeare will be a 
comparison of two specific speeches, that of 
Cromwell meditating on his state (act v. scene 5), 
beginning with the words, "]N"ow, Cromwell, 
hast thou time to meditate, &c.," and that of 
Wolsey's farewell to his greatness (Hen. YIIL, 
act iii. scene 2), beginning with the well-known 
words, " Farewell ! a long farewell, to all my 
greatness," &c. : the subject of both speeches is 
practically the same, but how different the 
execution ! 

There is no reason to doubt that the author 
of our play was AVentworth Smith, a poet of 
considerable ability, who wrote other dramas, 
such as, " The Puritane, or Widow of "Watling 
Streete " and '^ The Hector of Germanie," besides 
" The Life and Death of Thomas, Lord Crom- 
well." Wentworth Smith was, as it has been 
observed by the critics, fortunate in the initials 
of his name. Our play was entered on the 
Stationers' books in 1602, at which time Shake- 
speare's " Henry VIII." was acting in London. 
There is no copy extant of this edition. In 
1613, Shakespeare's "Henry YIIL" was revived 
with great success and splendour. In the same 
year our play was again brought out, advantage 
being taken of the similarity of time and matter 
which it shared with the great poet's work, and 
of the identity of our author's initials with those 
of Shakespeare. The oldest edition, so far as is 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 107 

known, of our \)\iij, dates from this year, aii'l is 
tlic basis of all later edition.^. 

"Thomas Cromwell "was printed in 1^10 
in the first volume of "The Ancient British 
Drama." It was translated in 1810 by Ernst 
Ortlepp into German in his *' Xachtriige zu 
Shakespeare's AVerken." It appeared a'^ain in 
1869 in Tauchnitz' edition of " Doubtful Vlays." 

T. Evan Jacoij. 
Lojidon 1889. 



DRAMATIS PERSONS. 



Duke of Norfolk. 

Duke of Suffolk. 

Ea.rl of Bedford. 

Cardinal Wolsey. 

Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. 

SrR Thomas More. 

Sir Christopher Hales. 

Sir Ralph Sadler, 

Sir Richard Radcliff. 

Old Cromwell, a Blacksmith of Putney. 

Thomas Cromwell, his son. 

Banister, 1 

5^It^^^: 1 English Merchants. 
Newton, i ° 

Crosby, I 

Bagot, a Money-broker. 

Frescobald, a Florentine merchant. 

The Governor of the English Factory at Antwerp. 

Governor and other States of Bologna. 

Master of an Hotel in Bologna. 

Seely, a Publican of Hounslow. 

Lieutenant of the Tower. 

Young Cromwell, the son of Thomas. 

HoDGK, Will, and Tom ; old Cromwell's servants. 

Two Citizens. 

Mrs. Banister. 

Joan, wife to Seeley. 

Two Witnesses, a Sergeant-at-arms, a Herald, a Hang- 
man, a Post, Messengers, Officers, Ushers, and 
Attendants. 

Scene — Partly Hi London and the adjoining district ; 
jjartly in Antu-erp and Bologna. 



THE LIFE AND DEATH 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 



ACT I. 

Scene I. 

Putney. 21ie entrance of a Smiilis shop. 

Enter Hodge, Will, and Tom. 

Hodge. Come, masters, I think it be past five 
o'clock ; is it not time we were at work 1 my old 
master he'll be stirring anon. 

Will, I cannot tell whether my old master 
will be stirring or no ; but I am sure I can 
liardly take my afternoon's nap, for my young 
Master Thomas, lie keeps such a coil in his 
study, with the sun, and the moon, and the 
seven stars, that I do verily think he'll read out 
liis wits. 

Ilodf/e. He skill of the stars ! There's good- 
man Car of Fulham (he that carried us to the 
strong ale, where goody Trundel had her maid 



170 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

got with cliild), 0, he knows the stars ; he'll 
tickle you Charles's wain in nine degrees : that 
same man will tell goody Trundel when her ale 
shall miscarry, only by the stars. 

Tom. Ay ! that's a great virtue indeed ; I 
think Thomas be nobody in comparison to him. 

Will. "Well, masters^, come j shall we to our 
hammers 1 

Hodge, Ay, content : first let's take our 
morning's draught, and then to M'ork roundly. 

Tom. Ay, agreed. Go in, Hodge, [Exeunt. 

Scene II. 
The same. Enter young Cromwell. 

Crom. Good morrow, morn ; I do salute thy 

brightness. 
The night seems tedious to my troubled soul, 
Whose black obscurity breeds in my mind 
A thousand sundry cogitations : 
And now Aurora with a lively dye 
Adds comfort to my spirit, that mounts on 

high; 
Too high indeed, my state being so mean. 
My study^ like a mineral of gold, 
Makes my heart proud, wherein my hope's 

enroll'd ; 
!My books are all the wealth I do possess, 
And unto them I have engag'd my heart. 
0, learning, how divine thou seem'st to me, 
AVithin whose arms is all felicity ! 



TBOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 171 

[The smiths brat icitli tlirir hammers^ irithiu. 
Peace witli your liainmers ! leave your knocking 

there ! 
You do disturb my study and my rest: 
Leave olF, I say ; you mad me ^vith the noise. 
Enter Hodge, Will, and To^i from witJnn. 
Hodge. Why, how now, Master Thomas ? how 
now % will you not let us work for you 1 

Crom. You fret my heart with making of this 

noise. 
Hodge. How, fret your heart? ay, hut Thomas, 
you'll fret your father's purse, if you let us from 
working. 

Tom. Ay, this 'tis for him to make him a 
gentleman. Shall we leave work for your 
musing'? that's well, i' faith. But here comes 
my old master now. 

Enter old Ckomwell. 
Old Crom. You idle knaves, what are you 
loit'ring now ] 
Ko hammers, talking, and my work to do ! 
AVhat, not a heat among your work to-day 1 

Hodge. Marry, sir, your son Thomas will not 
let us work at all. 

Old Crom. Why, knave, I say, have 1 thus 
cark'd and car'd, 
And all to keep thee like a gentleman ; 
And dost thou let my servants at their work. 
That sweat for thee, knave, labour thus for 
thee 1 



172 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Croni. Fatlier, their liamraers do offend my 

study. 
Old Crom. Out of my doors, knave, if thou 
lik'st it not. 
I cry you mercy ; are your ears so fine 1 
I tell thee, knave^ these get when I do sleep ; 
I ^vill not have my anyil stand for thee. 

Crom. There's money, father 5 I -will pay your 
men. 

[Throics moneii among them.. 
Old Crom. Haye I thus brought thee up unto 
my cost, 
In hope that one day thou'dst relieye my age ; 
And art thou now so lavish of thy coin. 
To scatter it among these idle knaves ? 

Crom. Father, be patient, and content your- 
self: 
The time will come I shall hold gold as trash : 
And here, I speak with a presaging soul, 
I'll build a palace where this cottage stands. 
As fine as is King Henry's house at Sheen. 
Old Crom. You build a house ? you knaye, 
you'll be a beggar ! 
Xow, afore God, all is but cast away. 
That is bestow'd upon this thriftless lad ! 
Well, had I bound him to some honest trade, 
This had not been; but 'twas his mother's 

doing, 
To send him to the uniyersity. 
How ? build a house where now this cottage 
stands. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 1 73 

As fair as tliat at Sheen ? — They sliall not lioar 
me. [Aside. 

A good boy, Tom ; I con thco tliank, Tom; 
Well said, Tom ; gramercy, Tom. — 
In to your work, knaves ; hence, thou saucy boy. 
[Exeunt all hut ijouiki Ckomwkll. 
Cram. Why sliould my birth kecj) down my 
mounting spirit ? 
Are not all creatures subject unto time, 
To time, who doth abuse the cheated Avorld, 
And fills it full of hodge-podge bastardy 1 
There's legions now of beggars on the earth, 
That their original did spring from kings ; 
And many monarchs now, whose fathers were 
The ritf-raff of their age ; for time and fortune 
AVears out a noble train to Ijcggary ; 
And from the dunghill minions do advance 
To state and mark in this admiring Avorld. 
This is but course, which, in the name of fate, 
Is seen as often as it whirls about. 
The river Thames, that l)y our door doth pass, 
His first beginning is but small and shallow ; 
Yet, keeping on his course, grows to a sea. 
And likewise Wolsey, the wonder of our age, 
His birth as mean as mine, a butcher's son ; 
Now who within this land a greater man 1 
Then, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and ttdl thy soul. 
That thou mayst live to flourish and control. 

Enter old Cromwell, 
Old Crom. Tom Cromwell ; what, Tom, I say. 



174 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Crom. Do you call, sir? 

Old Crom. Here is Master Bowser come to 
know if you have despatched his petition for the 
lords of the council, or no. 

Crom . Father, I have ; please you to call him in. 

Old Crom. That's well said, Tom ; a good lad^ 
Tom. 

Enter Bowser. 

Bow. Xow, Master Cromwell, have you des- 
patched this petition 1 

Crom. I have, sir ; here it is : please you 
peruse it. 

Boio. It shall not need ; we'll read it as we go 
By water. 

And, Master Cromwell, I have made a motion 
May do you good, an if you like of it. 
Our secretary at Antwerp, sir, is dead, 
And now the merchants there have sent to me^ 
For to provide a man fit for the place : 
Now I do know none fitter than yourself, 
If it stand with your liking. Master Cromwell. 

Crom. "With all my heart_, sir ; and I much am 
bound 
In love and duty for your kindness shown. 

Old Crom. Body of me, Tom, make haste, 
lest somebody get between thee and honour, Tom. 
— I thank you, good Master Bowser, I thank you 
for my boy : I thank you always, I thank you 
most heartily, sir : ho, a cup of beer here for 
Master Bowser. 



Tir )MA3 LORD CROMWI'LL. 1 



/ •> 



Bow. It shall not uood, sir. — >rast('r Crojii- 
^vell, will you ^ol 

Crom. I will attond von, sir. 

Old Crom. Farrwoll/ Tom : fl.xl IjIcss tli.-.., 
Tom ! (Joel speed tln'O, good Tom ! [E-reuji'. 

ScKXE II r. 
Londmi. A street he/ore Frescobald's houn'-. 

Enter Bagot. 

llnij. I hope this day is fatal unto some, 
And by their loss must liagot seek to gain. 
This is the lodge of Master Frescobald, 
A liberal merchant, and a Florentine ; 
To M'hom lianister owes a thousand pound. 
A merchant-bankrupt, whose father was my 

master. 
What do I care for pity or regard ? 
llo once Avas wealthy, but he now is fallen ; 
And I this morning have got liim arrested 
At suit of this same Master Frescobald ; 
And by this means shall I be sure of coin, 
For doing this same good to him unknown ; 
And in good time see where the merchant 
comes. 

Enter Frescobald. 
CJood morrow to kind ^Master Frescobald. 

Fres. Good morroAv to yourself, good Master 
Eagot ; 



176 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

And what's the news, you are so early stirring ? 
It is for gain, I make no doubt of that. 

Bag. 'Tis for the love, sir, that I bear to you. 
When did you see your debtor Banister ? 

Fres. I promise you I have not seen the man 
This two months day : his poverty is such, 
As I do think he shames to see his friends. 

Bag. Wliy then assure yourself to see him 
straight. 
For at your suit I have arrested him, 
And here they will be with him presently. 

Fres. Arrest him at my suit 1 you were to 
blame. 
I know the man's misfortunes to be such, 
As he's not able for to pay the debt ; 
And were it known to some, he were undone. 

Bag. This is your pitiful heart to think it so ; 
But you are much deceiv'd in Banister. 
"VYhy, such as he will break for fashion's sake. 
And unto those they owe a thousand pound, 
Pay scarce a hundred. 0, sir, beware of him. 
The man is lewdly given to dice and drabs : 
Spends all he hath in harlots' companies ; 
It is no mercy for to pity him. 
I speak the truth of him, for nothing else, 
But for the kindness that I bear to you. 

Fres. If it be so, he hath deceiv'd me much ; 
And to deal strictly with such a one as he, 
Is better sure than too much lenity. 
But here is Master Banister himself. 
And with him, as I take it, are the officers. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWiiLL. 177 

Enter Banister, Ids Wife, and two Officers. 

Ban. 0, Master Frescobald, you have uiulone 
me : 
My state was well-nigh overthrown before, 
Now altogether downeast by your means. 

Mrs. Ban. 0, Master Frescobakl, pity my 
Imsban'l's ease, 
lie is a man hath liv'd as well as any, 
Till envious fortune and the ravenous sea 
Did rob, disrobe, and spoil us of our own. 

Fres. Mistress Banister, I envy not your 
liusband, 
Xor willingly would I have us'd him thus : 
But that I hear he is so lewdly given. 
Haunts wicked company, and hath enough 
To pay his debts, yet will not own thereof. 
Ban. This is that damned broker, that same 
Bagot, 
Whom 1 have often from my trencher fed : 
Ungrateful villain, for to use me thus ! 

Bag. What I have said to him is naught but 

truth. 
Mrs. Ban. What thou hast said springs from 
an envious heart : 
O ! cannibal, that doth eat men alive ! 
But here, upon my knee, believe me, sir 
(And what I speak, so help me God, is true), 
We scarce have meat to feed our little babes, 
Most of our plate is in that broker's hand : 
Which, had we money to defray our debts, 

N 



178 THE LIFE A^^D DEATH OF 

tliiuk, we would not 'bide that penury. 
Be mercifu], kind Master Frescobald ; 
My husband, children, and myself will cat 
But one meal a day ; the other will we keep, 
And sell, as part to pay the debt we owe you. 
If ever tears did pierce a tender mind, 

Be pitiful ; let me some favour find. 

Fres. {to Bagoi). Go to, I see thou art an 
envious man. — 
Good Mistress Banister, kneel not to me ; 

1 pray rise up ; you shall have your desire. 
Hold, officers ; be gone ; there's for your pains. — 
{To Banister) You know you owe to me a thou- 
sand pound : 

Here, take my hand ; if e'er God make you able. 
And place you in your former state again. 
Pay me ; but yet, if still your fortune frown, 
Upon my faith, I'll never ask a crown. 
I never yet did wrong to men in thrall, 
For God doth know what to myself may fall. 

Ban. This unexpected favour, undeserved, 
Doth make my heart bleed inwardly with joy. 
Ne'er may aught prosper with me as my own^ 
If I forget this kindness you have shown. 

Mrs. Ban. ^ly children in their prayers, both 
night and day, 
For your good fortune and success shall pray. 

Fres. I thank you both ; I pray go dine with 
me. 
Within these three days, if God give me leave, 
I will to Florence, to my native home. — 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 170 

Hold, Bngot, there's a portague to tlrink, 
Altliougli you ill deserved it by your merit. 
Give not such cruel scope unto your heart ; 
Be sure the ill you do will be requited : 
Kenieniber what I say, Bngot ; farewell. — 
Come, Master Banister, you shall with me ; 
My fare's but simple, Init welcome heartily. 

\_Ej:eu7it all but Bagot. 
Bag. A plague go with you ! would you had 
eat your last ! 
Is tliis the thanks I have for all my pains ? 
Confusion light upon you all for me ! 
Where he had wont to give a score of crowns^ 
Doth he now foist me with a portague 1 
WeU, I will be reveng'd ujion this Banister. 
I'll to his creditors ; buy all the debts he owes-^ 
As seeming that I do it for good will ; 
I'm sure to have them at an easy rate : 
And when 'tis done, in Christendom he stays not, 
Eut I will make his heart to ache with sorrow. 
And if that Eanist6r become my debtor, 
By heaven and earthy I'll make his plague the 
greater. \_Exit. 



ACT II. 

Enter Chorus. 

Clio. Xow, gentlemen, imagine that yoiinj 
Cromwell 
In Antwerp's lieger for the English merchants; 



180 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

And Banister, to slmn this Bagot's hate, 
Hearing that he had got some of his debts, 
Is fled to Antwerp, with his wife and children ; 
Which Bagot hearing, is gone after them, 
And thither sends his bills of debt before, 
To be reveng'd on wretched Banister ! 
What doth fall out, with patience sit and see, 
A just requital of false treachery. 

[Exit 

Scene I. Aniicerp. 

Cromwell discovered in his study, sitting at a 
table, on which are i^laced money-hags and 
hooks of account. 

Crom, Thus far my reckoning doth go straight 
and even. 
But, Cromwell, this same plotting fits not thee ; 
Thy mind is altogether set on travel, 
And not to live thus cloister'd like a nun. 
It is not this same trash that I regard : 
Experience is the jewel of my heart. 

JEnter a Post. 
Post. I pray, sir^ are you ready to despatch 

me^ 
Cram, Tes ; here's those sums of money you 
must cany. 
You go so far as Frankfort, do you not ? 
Fost. I do, sir. 

Crom. Well, pr'ythee, then, make all the 
haste thou canst ; 



TUOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 181 

For there be certain English gentlemen 
Are bound for Venice, and may liaply want, 
An if that you should linger by the way : 
]^.it in the hope that you will make good speed, 
There are two angels, to buy you spurs and 
wands. 
Post. I thank you, sir, this will add wings 
indeed. [EHt Post. 

Crom. Gold is of power to make an eagle's 
speed. 

Unter ^Fistress Banister. 
What gentlewoman is this that grieves so much ? 
It seems she doth address herself to me. 

Mrs. Ban. God save you, sir. Pray, is your 

name Master Cromwell 1 
Crom. My name is Thomas Cromwell, gentle- 
woman. 
Mrs. Ban. Know you one Bagot, sir, that's 

come to Antwerp 1 
Crom. No, trust me, I ne'er saw the man ; 
but here 
Are bills of debt I have received against 
One Banister, a merchant fallen into decay. 
Mrs. Ban. Into decay, indeed, 'long of that 
wretch. 
I am the wife to woeful Banister, 
And by that bloody villain am pursu'd, 
From London, here to Antwerp, where my hus- 
band 
Lies in the Governor's hands; and God of 
heaven. 



182 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

He only knows liow lie will deal witli liira. 
Kow, sir, your heart is framed of milder temper ; 
Be merciful to a distressed soul, 
And God, no doubt_, will treble bless your gain. 
Crom. Good Mistress Banister, what I can, I 
will, 
In anything that lies within my power. 

Mrs. Ban. speak to Bagot, that same 
wicked wretch : 
An angel's voice may move a damned deviL 
Crom. "Why is he come to Antwerp, as you 

hear ? 
3Irs. Ban. I heard he landed some two hours 

since. 
Crom. "Well, Mistress Banister, assure your- 
self, 
I will speak to Bagot in your behalf. 
And win him to all the pity that I can. 
Meantime, to comfort you in your distress, 
Receive these angels to relieve your need ; 
And be assur'd, that what I can effect^ 
To do you good, no way I will neglect. 

Mrs. Ban. That mighty God that knows each 
mortal's heart, 
Keep you from trouble, sorrow^ grief, and smart. 
\_Exit Mistress Banistef^ 
Crom. Thanks, courteous woman, for thy 
hearty prayer. — 
It grieves my soul to see her misery : 
But we that live under the work of fate. 
May hope the best, yet know not to what state 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELF^ 183 



Our stars and destinies have us assi«;n*d ; 
Fickle is Fortune, and her face is blind. 



Scene IT. A street in Antwerp. 

Enter Bagot. 
Bag. So, all goes well ; it is as I would 

have it. 
Banister, he is with the Governor, 
And shortly shall have gyves upon his heels. 
It glacis my heart to think upon the slave ; 
I hope to have his body rot in prison, 
And after hear his wife to hang herself, 
And all his children die for want of food. 
The jewels I have brought with me to Antwerp 
Are reckoned to be worth five thousand pound ; 
AVhich scarcely stood me in three hundred 

pound. 
I bought them at an easy kind of rate ; 
I care not much which way they came by them, 
That sold them me ; it comes not near my 

heart : 
And lest they should be stolen (as sure they are), 
I thought it meet to sell them here in Antwerp ; 
And so have left them in the Governor's hand, 
'Who offers me within two hundred pound 
Of all my price : but now no more of that. — 
I must go see an if my bills be safe, 
The which I sent before to Master Cromwell ; 
That if the wind should keep me on the sea, 



184 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

He might arrest him here before I came ; 
And in good time, see where he is. 

Unter Cromwell. 

God save you, sir. 

Crom. And you. — Pray, pardon me, I know 
you not. 

JBag. It may be so, sir ; but my name is Bagot ; 
Tlie man that sent to you the bills of debt. 

Crom. 0, you're the man that pursues Banister. 
Here are the bills of debt you sent to me ; 
As for the man, you best know where he is. 
It is reported you've a flinty heart, 
A mind that will not stoop to any pity. 
An eye that knows not how to shed a tear, 
A hand that's always open for reward. 
But, Master Bagot, would you be rul'd by me, 
You should turn all these to the contrary : 
Your heart should still have feeling of remorse, 
Y^our mind, according to your state, be liberal 
To those that stand in need and in distress ; 
Your hand to help them that do sink in want, 
Rather than with your poise to hold them down : 
For every ill turn show yourself more kind ; 
Thus should I do ; pardon, I speak my mind. 

JBag. Ay, sir, you speak to hear what I would 
say; 
But you must live, I know, as well as I. 
I know this place to be extortionous ; 
And 'tis not for a man to keep safe here. 
But he must lie, cog with his dearest friend, 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL 185 

And as for pity, scorn it ; hate all conscience : — 
But yet I do commend your wit in this, 
To make a show of what I hope you arc not ; 
V>\\t I commend you, and it is well done : 
This is the only way to brin^,' you ^'ain. 

Crom. Gain 1 I had rath(;r chain mo to an oar, 
And, like a slave, there toil out all my life, 
Before I'd live so base a slave as thou. 
T, like an hypocrite, to make a show 
Of seeming virtue, and a devil within ! 
No, Bagot ; if thy conscience were as clear. 
Poor Banister ne'er had been troubled here. 

Bag. Nay, ^Master Cromwell, be not angry, sir, 
I know full well that you are no such man ; 
]5ut if your conscience were as white as snow. 
It will be thought that you are otherwise. 

Crom. Will it be thought that I am other- 
wise ? 
Let them that think so, know they are deceiv'd. 
Shall Cromwell live to have his faith miscon- 

stru'd 1 
Antwerp, for all the wealth within thy town 
I will not stay here full two hours longer. — 
As good luck serves, my accounts are all made 

even ; 
Therefore I'll straight unto the treasurer. 
Bagot, I know you'll to the governor : 
Commend mo to him ; say I'm bound to travel. 
To see the fruitful parts of Italy ; 
And as you ever bore a Christian mind, 
Let Banister some favour of you find. 



186 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

JBag. For your sake, sir, I'll help liiin all I 
can — 
(Aside) To starve his heart out ere he gets a 

groat ; 
So, Master Cromwell, do I take my leave. 
For I must straight unto the governor. 

Crom. Farewell, sir; pray remember what 
I've said. [Exit Bagot. 

Xo, Cromwell, no ; thy heart was ne'er so "base, 
To live by falsehood, or by brokery. 
But it falls out well ; — I little it repent ; 
Hereafter time in travel shall be spent. 

Enter Hodge. 

Hodge. Your son Thomas, quoth you ! I have 
been Thomass'd. I had thought it had been no 
such matter to ha' gone by water ; for at Put- 
ney, I'll go you to Parish Garden for twopence ; 
sit as still as may be, without any wagging or 
jolting in my guts, in a little boat, too ; here, 
we were scarce four miles in the great green 
water, but I_, thinking to go to my afternoon's 
nuncheon, as 'twas my manner at home, felt a 
kind of rising in my guts. At last, one of the 
sailors spying of me — "Be of good cheer," says 
he ; " set down thy victuals, and up with it ; 
thou hast nothing but an eel in thy belly." 
Well, to 't went I, and to my victuals went the 
sailors ; and thinkincj me to be a man of better 
experience than any in the ship, asked me what 
wood the ship was made of : they all swore I 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 187 

told them as right as if I liad been acquainted 
with the carpenter that made it. At last v,e 
gr(!w near land, and I (fvow villanous hungry, 
and went to my bag. The devil a Ijit tliere was, 
the sailors had tickled me ; yet I cannot blame 
them : it was a part of kindness ; for I in kind- 
ness told them what wood the ship was made of, 
and they in kindness eat up my victuals : as 
indeed one good turn asketh another. Well, 
would I could find my master Thomas in this 
Dutch town ! he might put some English beer 
into my belly. 

Ci'om. AYliat^ Ilodge, my father's man ! by 
my hand, welcome. How doth my father? 
what's the news at home 1 

Hodge. Master Thomas, God ! Master 
Thomas, your hand, glove and all. This is to 
give you to understand that your father is in 
health, and Alice Downing here hath sent you 
a nutmeg, and Bess Make-water a race of ginger ; 
my fellows, AVill and Tom, hath between them 
sent you a dozen of points ; and good man Toll, 
of the Goat, a pair of mittens : myself came in 
person ; and this is all the news. 

Cwm. Gramercy, good Hodge, and thou art 
welcome to me, 
But in as ill a time thou comest as may lie ; 
For I am travelling into Italy. 
What say'st thou, Hodge? wilt thou bear me 
company 1 

Hodge. Will I bear thee company, Tom ? what 



188 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

tell'st me of Italy? ^Vere it to tlie farthest part 
of Flanders, I would go with thee, Tom : I am 
thine in all weal and woe ; thine own to com- 
mand. What, Tom ! I have passed the rigorous 
waves of Neptune's blasts. I tell you, Thomas, 
I have been in danger of the floods ; and when 
I have seen Boreas begin to play the ruffian 
with ns, then would I down on my knees, and 
call upon Yulcan. 

Crom. And why upon him ? 

Sodge. Because, as this same fellow Neptune 
is god of the seas, so Yulcan is lord over the 
smiths ; and therefore I, being a smith, thought 
his godhead would have some care yet of me. 

Crom. A good conceit : but tell me, hast thou 
din'd yet '? 

Hodge. Thomas, to speak the truth, not a bit 
yet, I. 

Crom. Come, go with me, thou shalt have 
cheer, good store ; 
And farewell, Antwerp, if I come no more. 

Hodge. I follow thee, sweet Tom, I follow 
thee. \_Exeunt. 

Scene III. A?iof7ier street in the same. 
Enter the Governor of the English Facfori/j 
Bagot, Mr. and Mrs. Banister, and two 
Officers. 

Gov. Is Cromwell gone, then, say you, Mas- 
ter Bagot 1 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 180 

On what dislike, I pray yuu ? what was the 
cause ? 
Ba(j. To tell you true, a wild Ijrain of his own ; 
Such youth as he can't see when they are well. 
He is all bent to travel (that's his reason), 
And dotli not love to eat his hreail at home, 
Oov. Well, good fortune with him, if the man 
be gone. 
AVe hardly shall find such a one as he, 
To fit our turns, his dealings were so honest. 
]jut now, sir, for your jewels that I have — 
What do you say 1 what, will you take my 
price ? 
Bag. 0, sir, you offer too much under foot. 
Gov. 'Tis but two hundred pound between us, 
man, 
What's that in payment of five thousand pound ] 
Bag. Two hundred pound ! by'r lady, sir, 'tis 
great ; 
Before I got so much, it made me sweat. 

Gov. Well, Master Lagot, I'll proffer you 
fairly. 
You see this merchant, Master Banister, 
Is going now to prison at your suit ; 
His substance all is gone : what would you 

have'? 
Yet, in regard I knew the man of wealth 
(Never dishonest dealing, but such mishaps 
Have fallen on him, may light on me or you), 
There is two hundred pound between us two ; 
We will divide the same: I'll give vou one. 



190 THE LIFE AXD JDEATH OP 

(3n that condition you will set him free. 
His state is nothing ; that you see yourself ; 
And where nought is, the king must lose lii.s 

right. 
Bag. sir, you speak out of your love ; but 

know 
'Tis foolish love, sir, sure, to pity him. 
Therefore content yourself ; this is my mind ; 
To do him good I will not bate a penny. 

Ban, This is my comfort, though thou dost 

no good, 
A mighty ebb follows a mighty flood. 

Mrs. Ban. thou base wretch, whom we have 

fostered. 
Even as a serpent, for to poison us ! 
If God did ever right a woman's wrong, 
To that same God I bend and bow my heart, 
To let His heavy wrath fall on thy head, 
Ey whom my hopes and joys are butchered. 
Bag. Alas, fond woman ! I pr'ythee pray 

thy worst ; 
The fox fares better still when he is curst. 

Enter Eowser. 

Gov. Master Bowser ! you are welcome, sir^ 
from England. 
What's the best news 1 and how do all our 
friends 1 
Bow. They are all well, and do commend 
them to you. 
There's letters from your brother and your son : 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 191 

So, fare you avuII, sir ; I must take my leave, 
]\ly haste and business doth require it so. 

Gov. Before you dine, sir ? "What, go you 

out of town, 
Bow. V faith unless I hear some news in 
town. 
I must away ; there is no remedy. 

Gov. Master Bowser, what is your business ? 

may I know it 1 
Bow. You may so, sir, and so shall all the 
city. 
The king of late hath had his treasurj- robb'd, 
And of the choicest jewels that he had: 
The value of them was seven thousand pound. 
The fellow that did steal these jewels is hang'd. 
And did confess that for three hundred pound 
He sold them to one Bagot dwelling in London. 
I^ow Bagot's fled, and, as we hear, to Antwerp ; 
And hither am I come to seek him out ; 
And they that first can tell me of his news. 
Shall have a hundred pound for their reward. 
Ban, How just is God to right the innocent ! 
Gov. Master Bowser, you come in happy time : 
Here is the villain Bagot that you seek, 
And all those jewels have I in my hands: 
Here, officers, look to him, hold him fast. 
. Bag. The devil ow'd me a shame, and now 
hath paid it. 
Bow. Is this that Bagot? Fellows, lear him 
hence ; 
We will not stand here for his reply. 



192 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

Lade him with irons ; we will have him tried 
In England, where his villanies are known. 

Bag. Mischief, confusion, light upon you all ! 
O hang me, drown me, let me kill myself ; 
Let go my arms, let me run quick to hell. 

Boic. Away ; bear him away ; stop the slave's 
mouth. 

[Exeimt Officers and Bagot. 
Mrs. Ban. Thy works are infinite^ great God 

of heaven. 
Gov. I heard this Bagot was a wealthy fellow. 
Bow. He was indeed ; for when his goods were 
seiz'dj 
Of jewels, coin, and plate, within his house 
Was found the value of five thousand pound ; 
His furniture worth fully half so much ; 
Which being all distrained for the king, 
He frankly gave it to the Antwerp merchants ; 
And they again, out of their bounteous mind, 
Have to a brother of their company, 
A man decay'd by fortune of the seas, 
Given Bagot' s wealth, to set him up again, 
And keep it for him ; his name is Banister. 
Gov. Good !Master Bowser, with this happy 
news 
You have reviv'd two from the gates of death : 
This is that Banister, and this his wife. 

Bow. Sir, I am glad my fortune is so good 
To bring such tidings as may comfort you. 
Ban. You have given life unto a man deem'd 
dead ; 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 193 

For by tliesc news my life is newly bred. 

Mr!<. Ban. Thanks to my God, next to my 
sovereign king ; 
And last to you, that these good news do bring. 
Gov. The hundred pound I must receive, as 
due 
For finding Bagot, I freely give to you. 

Bow. And, Master Banister, if so you please, 
I'll bear you company, when you cross the seas. 
Ban. If it please you, sir ; — my company is 
but mean : 
Stands with your liking, I will wait on you. 
Qoc. I'm glad that all things do accord so 
well. 
Come, Master Bowser, let us in to dinner ; 
And, Mistress Banister, be merry, woman. 
Come, after sorrow now let's cheer your spirit ; 
Knaves have their due, and you but what you 
merit. ^ [E.ceu7it. 



ACT III. 

Scene I. 

The principal bridge atFlorenre. 

Enter Cromwell and Hodge in their shirts, and 
icithout hats. 

Hodge. Call you this seeing of fashions "J 
marry, would I had stayed at Putney still. 0, 
Master Thomas, we are spoiled, we are gone. 

Crorn. Content thee, man ; this is but fortune. 

o 



194 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Hodge. Fortune ! a plague of this fortune, it 
makes me go \yet-sliod; the rogues would not 
leave me a shoe to my feet. 
For my hose, 

They scorn'd them with their heels : 
But for my doublet and hat, 
Lord^ they emhrac'd me, 
And unlac'd me, 
And took away my clothes, 
And so disgrac'd me. 
Grom. AVell, Hodge, what remedy ? What 
shift shall we make now % 

Hodge. Xay, I know not. For begging I 
am naught ; for stealing, worse. By my troth, 
I must even fall to my old tirade, to the hammer 
and the horse-heels again : — But now tlie worst 
is, I am not acquainted with the humour of the 
horses in this country ; whether they are not 
coltish, given much to kicking, or no : for when 
I have one leg in my hand, if he should up and 
lay t'other on my chaps, I were gone ; there 
lay I, there lay Hodge. 

Crom. Hodge, I believe thou must work for 
us both. 

Hodge. 0, Master Thomas, have not I told 
you of this % Have not I many a time and often 
said, '•' Tom, or Master Thomas, learn to make a 
horse-shoe, it will be your own another day : " 
this was not regarded. — Hark you, Thomas I 
what do you call the fellows that robbed us 
Crom, The banditti. 



THOMAS LORD CllOilWELL. 105 

Hodge. The banditti, do you call them? I 
know not what tliey are called hero, but I am 
^ure we call them plain thieves in England. 0, 
Tom, that we were now at Putney, at the ah; 
there ! 

Crom. Content tlK-f, man : here set up these 
two bills ; 
And let us keep our stanling on the bridge. 
The fashion of this country is such, 
If any stranger be oppress'd witli want. 
To write the manner of his misery ; 
And such as are disposeil to succour him, 

[Hodge sets up the hills. 
Will do it. What, Hodge, hast thou set them 
up? 
Hodge. Ay, they arc up ; God send some to 
read them ; and not only to read them, but also 
to look on us ; and not altogether look on us, 
])ut to relieve us. 0, cold, cold, cold ! 

[CfvOMWELL stands at one end of the bridge^ 
and Hodge at the other. 

Enter Frescobald. 

Free, [reads the hills']. What's here 1 
Two Englishmen, and robb'd by the banditti ! 
One of them seems to bo a gentleman. 
'Tis pity that his fortune was so hard, 
To fall into the desperate hands of thieves : 
I'll question him of what estate he is. 
God save you, sir Are you an Englishman 1 

Crom. I am, sir, a distressed Englishman, 
o 2 



196 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Fres. And -what are yon, my friend 1 

Hodge. Who, I, sir ? by my troth, I do not 
know myself what I am now ; but, sir, I was a 
smith, sir, a poor farrier, of Putney. That's my 
master, sir, yonder ; I was robbed for his sake, 
sir. 

Fres, I see you have been met by the banditti. 
And therefore need not ask how you came thus. 
But, Frescobald, why dost thou question them 
Of their estate, and not relieve their need ■? 
Sir, the coin I have about me is not much ; 
There's sixteen ducats for to clothe yourselves. 
There's sixteen more to buy your diet with, 
And there's sixteen to pay for your horse-hire. 
'Tis all the wealth, you see, my purse possesses ; 
But, if you please for to inquire me out. 
You shall not want for aught that I can do. 
My name is Frescobald, a Florence merchant, 
A man that always lov'd your nation much. 

Crom. This unexpected favour at your hands, 
Which God doth know, if e'er I shall requite — 
aS'ecessity makes me to take your bounty. 
And for your gold can yield you naught but 

thanks. 
Your charity hath helped me from despair ; 
Your name shall still be in my hearty prayer. 

Fres. It is not worth such thanks ; come to 
my house ; 
Your Avant shall better be reliev'd than thus. 

Crom. I pray, excuse me ; this shall well 
suffice. 



TIIOilAS LORD CKOMWKLL. 197 

To bear my cliar^'os to Loloi^'iiia, 
Whereas a iioLle earl is much distressM : 
An Englisliman, Russell the earl of Bedford, 
Is by the Freiicli king soM unto liis death. 
It may fall out, that I may do him good ; 
To save hi>> life, I'll hazard my heart-blood. 
Therefore, kind sir, thanks for your liberal gift ; 
I must b<' gone to aid him, there's no shift. 

Fres. I'll be no hinderer to so good an act. 
Heaven prosper you in that you go about ! 
If fortune bring you this way back again. 
Pray let me see you : so I take my leave ; 
All good a man can wish, I do bequeath. 

[Exit Frehcoba ld . 

Crom. All good that God doth send light on 
your head ! 
There's few such men within our climate bred. 
How say you, Hodge ? is not this good fortune 1 

llothje. How say you ? I'll tell you what, 
"Master Tiioraas ; if all men be of this gentleman's 
mind, let's keep our standings upon this bridge ; 
we shall g(^t more here, with begging, in one day, 
than I shall witli making horse-shoes in a whole 
year. 

Crom. Xo, Ilodge, we must be gone unto 
Bolognia, 
There to relieve the noble earl of Bedford : 
Where, if I fail not in my policy, 
I shall deceive their subtle treachery. 

Hodfje. Nay, I'll follow you. God bless us 
from the thieving banditti again. [Exeunt. 



198 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 



Scene II. 

Bolognia. A room in an hot el. 
Enter Bedford and Host. 

JBed. Am I betray'd? was Bedford born to 
die 
By such base slaves, in siicli a place as this ? 
Have I escap'd so many times in France, 
So many battles have I overpass'd, 
And made the French skir, when they heard my 

name ; 
And am I now betray 'd unto my death 1 
Some of their hearts' blood first shall pay for it. 

Host. They do desire, my lord, to speak with 
you. 

Bed. The traitors do desire to have my blood ; 
But by my birth, my honour, and my name. 
By all my hopes, my life shall cost them dear. 
Open the door ; I'll venture out upon them, 
And if I must die, then I'll die with honour. 

Host. Alas, my lord, that is a desperate 
course : 
They have begirt you round about the house. 
Their meaning is, to take you prisoner, 
And so to send your body unto France. 

Bed. First shall the ocean be as dry as sand, 
Before alive they send me unto France. 
I'll have my body first bor'd like a sieve. 
And die as Hector, 'gainst the Myrmidons, 
Ere France shall boast Bedford 's their prisoner. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. lOD 

! treacherous France ! that, 'gainst tlie law of 

arms, 
Hath here hotray'd thine enemy to doatli. 
l^ut he assur'd, my hlood sliall he roveng'd 
Upon tlie hest lives that remain in France. 

.Enter a Servant. 
Stand hack, or else thou run'st upon thy death. 
Ser. Pardon, my lord ; I come to tell your 
lionour, 
That they have liir'd a Neapolitan, 
Who hy his oratory hath promis'd them, 
AVithout the shedding of one drojo of bloody 
Into tlieir hands safe to deliver you ; 
And therefore craves none hut himself may enter 
And a poor swain that attends upon him. 
Bed. A Neapolitan 1 bid him come in. 

\_Exit Servant. 
Were he as cunning in his eloquence 
As Cicero, the famous man of Rome, 
llis words would be as chaff against the wind. 
Swect-tongued Ulysses, that made Ajax mad, 
AVere lie, and his tongue in this speaker's head, 
Alive, he wins me not ; then 'tis no conquest 
dead. 
Enter Cromwell, in a Neapolitan hahit, and 

IIODGE. 

Ci'om. Sir, arc you the master of the house 1 
Host. I am, sir. 

Crom. By this same token you must leave this 
place. 
And leave none but the earl and I together. 



200 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Alul this my peasant here to tend on us. 

Host. With all my heart : God grant you do 
some good. 

[_Exit Host. Cromwell shuts tlie door. 
Bed. Kow, sir, what is your will with me % 
Crom. Intends your honour not to yield your- 
self? 
Bed. No^ goodman goose, not while my sword 
doth last. 
Is this your eloquence for to persuade me 1 
Crom. My lord, my eloquence is for to save 
you : 
I am not, as you judge, a Neapolitan, 
But Cromwell, your servant, and an Englishman. 
Bed. How^ ! Cromwell ? not my farrier's son ? 
Crom. The same^ sir ; and am come to succour 

you. 
Hodge. Yes, faith, sir ; and I am Hodge, your 
poor smith : many a time and oft have I shod 
your dapple-grey. 

Bed. And w^hat avails it me that thou ait 

here 1 
Crom. It may avail, if you'll be rul'd by me. 
IMy lord, you know, the men of Mantua 
And these Bolognians are at deadly strife ; 
And they, my lord, both love and honour you. 
Could you but get out of the Mantua port. 
Then were you safe, despite of all their force. 
Bed. Twt, man, thou talk'st of things impos- 
sible ; 
Dost thou not see that we are round beset ; 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 201 

How then is't possible we should escape ] 

Crom. By force wc cannot, but by policy. 
Put on the api»iir('l here that IIo(lf,'e doth wear, 
And give him yours : The states, they know you 

not 
(For, as I think, they never saw your face) ; 
And at a watch-word must I call them in, 
And will desire that we two safe may pass 
To Mantua, where I'll say my business lies. 
How doth your honour like of this device ? 
Bed, 0, wondrous good. — But wilt thou 

venture, Hodge 1 
Hodge. Willi? 

noble lord, 

1 do accord. 

In any thing I can : 
And do agree, 
To set thee free, 
Do Fortune what she can. 
Bed. Come then, and change we our apparel 

straight. 
Crom. Go, Hodge; make haste, lest they 

should chance to call. 
Hodge. I warrant you I'll fit him with a suit. 
[Exeunt Bedford and Hodge. 
Crom. Heavens grant this policy doth take 
success, 
And that the earl may safely 'scape away ! 
And yet it grieves me for this simple wretch, 
For fear lest they should oiler him violence : 
]]ut of two evils, 'tis best to shun the greatest ; 



202 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

And better is it that he live in thrall, 
Than such a noble earl as this should fall. 
Their stubborn hearts, it may be, will relent, 
Since he is gone to whom their hate is bent. 

Be- enter Bebtout) and Rodge, 

My lord, have you despatch'd ? 

Bed. How dost thou like us, Cromwell 1 is it 
well? 

Crom. 0, my good Lord, excellent. — Hodge, 
how dost feel thyself 1 

Hod'je. How do I feel myself? why, as a 
nobleman should do. 0, how I feel honour 
come creeping on ! My nobility is wonderful 
melancholy : is it not most gentlemanlike to be 
melancholy 1 

Bed. Yes, Hodge : now go, and sit down in 
the study, and take state upon thee. 

Hodge. I warrant you, my Lord ; let me 
alone to take state upon me: But hark, my lord, 
do you feel nothing bite about you ? 

Bed. No, trust me, Hodge. 

Hodge. Ay, they know they want their old 
pasture. 'Tis a strange thing of this vermin, 
they dare not meddle with nobility.. 

Crom. Go take thy place, Hodge ; I will call 
them in. 
Now all is done: — Enter, an if you please. 
Enter the Governor and other States and 
Citizen's oJ Bolognia, ayid Officers uith 
halberds. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 20o 

Gov. Wliut, have you won liiiii ? will he yiekl 
liimself? 

Crom. I Iiave, an't please you ; and the <iuiet 
earl. 
Doth yield himself to be dispos'd by you. 

Gov. Give him the money that we promisVl 
liim : 
80 let him ^^o, whither it please himself. 

Crom. ;My business, sir, lies unto Mantua; 
Please you to give me a safe conduct thither. 

Gov. Go, and conduct him to the Mantua port. 
And see him safe deliver'd presently. 

\E.i'cuiit Cromwell, Bedford, and an Officer. 
Go draw the curtains, let us see the earl : — 

\_An Atteiulant opens the curtains. 
0, he is writing ; stand apart awhile. 

] lodge [reads]. Fellow William, I am not 
as I have been; I icent from you a smith, I 
vrite to you as a lard. I am, at this present 
irriting, among the Polonian sausages. I do 
commend my lordship to Raljdi and to Roger, 
to Bridget and to DorotJn/, and so to all the 
youth of Putney. 

Gov. Sure these are the names of English 
noblemen, 
Some of his special friends to whom he writes: — 
[Hodge soimds a note. 
JiUt stay, he doth address himself to sing. 

[Hodge sings a song. 
My lord, I am glad you are so frolic and so blithe : 
Believe me, noble lord, if you knew all, 



204 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

You'd change your merry vein to sudden sorrow. 
Hodge. I change my merry vein 1 no, thou 
Polonian^ no ; 
I am a lord, and therefore let me go. 
I do defy thee and thy sausages ; 
Therefore stand off, and come not near my 
honour. 
Gov. My lord, this jesting cannot serve your 
turn. 
^ Hodge. Dost think, thou black Polonian beast. 
That I do flout J do gibe, or jest '? 
Xo, no^ tliou beer-pot, know that I^ 
A noble earl, a lord par-dy — 

[yl trumpet sounds. 
Gov. What means this trumpet's sound ? 

Enter a Messenger. 

at. One is come from the states of Mantua. 

Gov. What would you with with us ? speak^ 
thou man of INEantua. 

Hies. Men of Bolognia, this my message is ; 
To let you know the noble Earl of Bedford 
Is safe within the town of Mantua, 
And wills you send the peasant that you have. 
Who hath deceiv'd your expectation: 
Or else the states of Mantua have vow'd, 
They will recall the truce that they have made ; 
And not a man shall stir from forth your town, 
That shall return, unless you send him back. 

Gov. this misfortune, how it mads my heart ! 
The Xoapolitan hath beguil'd us all. 



TnOMAS LOUD CROMWELL. 205 

Hence with this fool. What sliall wt,- du witlt 

liim. 
The earl being gone 1 a pLigue upon it all ! 

Ilodge. iS'o, I'll assure you, 1 am no earl^ but 

a smith, sir ; one Hodge, a smith at Putney, sir; 

one that hath gulled you, that hath bored you, sir. 

Gov. Away with him ; take hence the fool 

you came for. 
llochje. Ay, sir, and Til leave the greater fool 

with you. 
Mes. Farewell, Bolognians. — Come, friend, 

along with me. 
Hoihje. My friend, afore; my lordsliip will 
follow thee. 

\JExeunt Hodge and Messenger. 
Gov. Well, ]\Iantua, since by thee the earl is 
lost. 
Within few days I hope to see thee crest. 

\_'Excunt Governor, iSfates, Attendants, &c. 

Enter CuoKus. 

Clto. Thus far you see how Cromwell s fortune 
pass'd. 
The earl of Bedford, being safe in !^^antua, 
Desires Cromwell's company into France, 
To make requital for his courtesy ; 
But Cromwell doth deny the earl his suit, 
And tells him of those parts he meant to see, 
He had not yet set footing on the land ; 
And so directly takes his way to Spain ; 
The carl to France ; and so they both do part. 



206 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

Now let your thoughts, as swift as is the wind, 
Skip some few years that Cromwell spent in 

travel ; 
And now imagine him to be in England, 
Servant unto the Master of the Rolls ; 
Where in short time he there began to flourish : 
An hour shall show you what few years did 

nourish. {_E.rit. 

Scene III. 

London. A room in Sir Christopher Hales' 

lioiise. 
Music plays; then a banquet is brought in. Enter 

Sir Christopher Hales, Cromwell, and 

two Servants. 
Hales. Come, sirs, be careful of your master's 

credit ; 
And as our bounty now exceeds the figure 
Of common entertainment, so do you, 
With looks as free as is your master's soul, 
Give formal welcome to the thronged tables, 
That shall receive the cardinal's followers. 
And the attendants of the great Lord Chancellor. 
But, Cromwell, all my care depends on thee: 
Thou art a man differing from vulgar form, 
And by how much thy spirit's rank'd 'bove these, 
In rules of art, by so much it shines brighter 
By travel, whose observance pleads thy merit. 
In a most leam'd, yet unaffected spirit. 
Good Cromwell, cast an eye of fair regard 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 207 

'Eoiit all luy lioiipc ; and -what this rudor llesh, 
Through ignorance, or wine, do miscreatc, 
Salve thou with courtesy. If welcome want, 
Full bowls and ample banquets will seem scant. 

Crom. Sir, as to whatsoever lies in me, 
Assure you, I will show my utmost duty. 

Hales. About it, then ; the lords will straight 
be here. [Exit Ckomwei.l. 

Cromwell, thou hast those parts would i-ather suit 
The service of the state than of my house: 
I look upon thee with a loving eye, • 
That one day will prefer thy destiny. 

Enter a Servant. 
Scr. Sir, the lords be at hand. 
Hales. They are welcome ; bid Cromwell 
straight attend us. 
And look you all things be in readiness. 

\_Exit Servant. 
The music pJay.-^. Enter Cardinal "Wolsey, 
Sill TuoMAS ^loKE, Gardiner ; Cromwell, 
and Attendants. 
Wol. 0, Sir Christopher, 
You are too liberal. What ! a banquet, too 1 
Hales, My lords, if Avords could show the 
ample welcome 
That my free heart affords you, I could then 
Become a prater ; but I now must deal 
Like a feast-politician with your lordships ; 
Defer your welcome till the banquet encl, 
That it may then salve our defect of fare: 



208 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

Yet welcome now, and all that tend on you. 

Wol. Our thanks to the kind Master of the 
Rolls. 
Come and sit down ; sit down, Sir Thomas More. 
'Tis strange, how that we and the Spaniard differ ; 
Their dinner is our banquet after dinner^ 
And they are men of active disposition. 
By this I gather that, by their sparing meat, 
Their bodies are more fitter for the wars ; 
And if that famine chance to pinch their maws, 
Being us'd to fast, it breeds in them less pain. 

Hales. Fill me some wine ; I'll answer 
Cardinal "Wolsey. | 

My lord, we English are of more free souls. 
Than hunger- starv'd and ill-complexion'd 

Spaniards. 
They that are rich in Spain spare belly-food, 
To deck their backs with an Italian hood, 
And silks of Seville ; and the poorest snake 
That feeds on lemons, pilchards, and ne'er heated 
His palate with sweet flesh, will bear a case 
More fat and gallant than his starved face. 
Pride^ the Inquisition, and this belly- evil, 
Are, in my judgment, Spain's three-headed devil. 

More. Indeed it is a plague unto their nation, 
Who stagger after in blind imitation. 

Hales. My lords, with welcome, I present 
your lordships 
A solemn health. 

Mo7'e. 1 love healths well ; but whenas healths 
do brin." 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 20'J 

Piiiu to tlie liecid, an<l body's suifuitiii";, 

Tlioii cease I healths: 

Xay, spill not, friend ; for tliougli the drops Ijc 

small, 
Yet have they force to force men to the wall. 

Wol. Sir Christopher, is that your man ? 

llale^'. An't like 

Your grace, he is a scliolar, and a lin<^aiist; 
One that hath travelled through many parts 
Of Christendom, my lord. 

]]'ol. My friend, come nearer ; have you been 
a traveller 1 

Crom. My lord, 
I've added to my knowledge the Low Countries, 
AVith France, Spain, Germany, and Italy ; 
And though small gain of profit I did find, 
Yet it did please my eye, content my mind. 

Wol. Wliat do you think then of the several 
states 
And princes' courts as you have travelled 1 

Crom. My lord, no court with England may 
compare, 
Neither for state, nor civil government. 
Lust dwells in France, in Italy, and Spain, 
From the poor i)easant to the prince's train. 
In Germany and Holland, riot serves ; 
And he that most can drink, most he deserves. 
England I praise not, for I here was born, 
But sure she laughs the others unto scorn. 

WoL My lord, there dwells within that spirit 
more 

r 



210 THE LIPE AND DEATH OP 

Than can be discern'd by the outward eye : — 
Sir Christopher, will you part with your man ? 
Hales. I 've sought to proffer him unto your 
lordship : 
And now I see he hath preferr'd himself. 
Wol. What is thy name ? 
Crom. Cromwell, my lord. 
Wol, Then, Cromwell, here we make thee 
solicitor 
Of our causes, and nearest^ next ourself : 
Gardiner, give you kind welcome to the man. 

[Gardiner embraces him. 

More. 0, my lord cardinal, you 're a royal 

winner. 

Have got a man, besides your bounteous dinner. 

"Well, my good knight, pray that we come no 

more : 
If we come often, thou mayst shut thy door. 
Wol. Sir Christopher, hadst thou given me 
half thy lands. 
Thou couldst not have pleased me so much as 

with 
This man of thine. My infant thoughts do spell, 
Shortly his fortune shall be lifted higher ; 
True industry doth kindle honour's fire: 
And so, kind Master of the Rolls, farewell. 
Sales. Cromwell, farewell. 
Crom. Cromwell takes leave of you, 

That ne'er will leave to love and honour you. 
[Exeunt. Tlie music plciys as they go out. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 211 



ACT IV. 
Enter Chorus. 
Cho. Now Cromwell's highest fortunes do 
begin. 
Wolscy, tliat lov'd liim as he did his life, 
Committed all his treasure to his hands, 
Wolsey is dead ; and Gardiner, his man, 
Is now created Bishop of Winchester. 
Pardon if we omit all Wolsey's life, 
Because our play depends on Cromwell's death. 
Now sit, and see his highest state of all, 
His height of rising, and his sudden fall. 
Pardon the errors are already past, 
And live in hope the best doth come at last. 
My hope upon your favour doth depend. 
And looks to have your liking ere the end. 

lExit 



Scene I. London. A puhlk v:aUi. 

Enter Gardiner Bishop of Winchester, the 
Dukes of Norfolk and of Suffolk, Sir 
Thomas More, Sir Christopher Hales, 
a7id Cromwell 

Nor. Master Cromwell, since Cardinal Wolsey's 
death. 
His ^Majesty is given to understand 
There's certain bills and Avritings in your hand, 
That much concern the present state of England. 
p 2 



212 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

My lord of Winchester, is it not so 1 

Gar. ]\ry lord of Norfolk, we two were 

whilom fellows : 
And Master Cromwell, though our master's love 
Did bind us, while his love was to the king, 
It is no boot now to deny those things. 
Which may be prejudicial to the state : 
And though that God hath rais'd my fortune 

higher 
Than any way I look'd for, or deserv'd, 
Yet may my life no longer wdth me dwell. 
Than I prove true unto my sovereign ! 
What say you, Master Cromwell ] Speak ; have 

you 
Those writings, ay, or no ? 

Crom. Here are the writings : 

And on my knees I give them up unto 
The worthy Dukes of Suffolk and of Norfolk. 
He was my master, and each virtuous part 
That liv'd in him, I tender'd with my heart ; 
But what his head complotted 'gainst the State, 
My country's love commands me that to hate. 
His sudden death I grieve for^ not his fall. 
Because he sought to work my country's thrall. 
Stif. Cromwell, the king shall hear of this thy 

duty ; 
Who, I assure myself, will well reward thee. 
My lord, let's go unto his Majesty, 
And show these writings which he longs to 

see. 

\_Exeunt Norfolk and Suffolk. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 213 

EntfT PiKDFORD hasfilt/. 

l^ed. How now, who i.s this ? Croniwrll ? By 
ray soul, 
Weh'ome toEiiglaiid: thou once didst siivc my life; 
Didst thou not, Cromwell ? 

Crom. If I did so, 'tis greater glory for me 
That you remember it, than for myself 
Now vainly to report it. 

Bed. AYell, Cromwell, now's the time for 
gratitude : 
I shall commend thee to my sovereign. 
Cheer up thyself, fur I will raise thy state : 
A Russell yet was never found ingrate. 

Hales. how uncertain is the wheel of fate ! 
AV^ho lately greater than the Cardinal, 
For fear and love 1 and now who lower lies 1 
(Jay honours are Lut Fortune's flatteries ; 
And whom this day pride and promotion swell, 
To-morrow envy and ambition quell. 

More. Who sees the cobweb tangle the'poor fly 
May boldly say, the wretch's death is nigh. 

Gard. I knew his state and proud ambition 
Were too, too violent to last o'erlong. 

Hales. Who soars too near the sun with 
golden wings, 
Melts them ; to ruin his own fortune brings. 

Enter the Duke of Suffolk. 

aSu/. Cromwell, kneel down, ami, in King 
Henry's name, 
Arise Sir Thomas; — thus begins thy fame. 



214 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Enter ilie Duke of Norfolk. 
Nor. Crom\yell, the gracious Majesty of Eng- 
land, 
For the good liking he conceives of thee, 
Makes thee the master of the jewel-house, 
Chief secretary to himself, and withal, 
Creates thee one of his highness' privy-council. 

'Enter the Earl of Bedford. 
Bed. Where is Sir Thomas Cromwell % is he 

knighted? 
Suf. He is, my lord. 

Eed. Then, to add honour to 

His name, the king creates him the lord-keejier 
Of his privy seal, and master of the rolls, 
Which you. Sir Christopher, do now enjoy : 
The king determines higher place for you. 

Crom. My lords. 
These honours are too high for my desert. 

JSIore. content thee, man ; who would not 
choose it ? 
Yet thou art wise in seeming to refuse it. 

Gard, [Aside). Hero's honours, titles, and pro- 
motions : 
I fear this climbmg will have sudden fall. 
Nor. Then come, my lords; let's all together 
bring 
This new-made counsellor to England's king. 
[Exeunt all hut Gardiner. 
Gard. But Gardiner means his glory shall be 
dimm'd. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 215 

Sliall Cromwell live a greater man tlian 1 1 

]My envy with his honour now is l^red: 

I hope to shorten Cromwell by the liead. lErif. 

Scene II. LojuIou. A street before Chom- 
wkll's house, 

JEiiter Frescobald. 
Fres. Frescobald, what shall become of 

thee ? 
Where shalt thou go, or which way shalt thou 

turn? 
Fortune, that turns her too inconstant wheel, 
Hath drown'd thy wealth and riches in the sea. 
All parts abroad wherever I have been 
Grow weary of me, and deny me succour. 
Isly debtors, they that should relieve my want. 
Forswear my money, say they owe me none ; 
They know my state too mean to bear out law : 
And here in London, where I oft have been, 
And have done good to many a wretched man, 
I'm now most wretched and despis'd myself. 
In vain it is more of their hearts to try ; 
Be patient, therefore, lay thee down and die. 

[Zees doiim. 

Enter Seely and Joan. 

Seely. Come, Joan, come ; let's see what he'll 
do for us now. I wis we have done for him, 
when many a time and often he might have gone 
a-hungry to bed. 

Joan. Alas, man, now he is made a lord, he'll 



216 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

never look upon us ; he'll fulfil the old proverb, 
Set heggars a horsehack and tlieijll ride. A well- 
a-day for my cow ! such as he hath made us 
come behind-hand ; we had never pawned our 
cow else to pay our rent. 

Seebj. Well, Joan, he'll come this way ; and 
by God's dickers I'll tell him roundly of it, an 
if he were ten lords: a' shall know that I had 
not my cheese and my bacon for nothing. 

Joan. Do you remember, husband, how he 
would mouch up my cheese-cakes ? He hath 
forgot this now ; but now we'll remember him. 

Seehj. Ay, we shall have now three flaps with 
a fox-tail: but i' faith 111 jibber a joint, but I'll 
tell him his own. — Stay, who comes here ? 0, 
stand up, here he comes ; stand up. 

JE'?z^e?' Hodge with a tipstaff; Chomwell, ivith 
the mace carried before him; the DuJces of 
Norfolk and Suffolk, and Attendants. 

Hodge. Come ; away wath these beggars here. 
Rise up, sirrah : come out, good people ; run 
afore there, ho. 

[Feescobald rises, and stands at a distance. 

Seelg. Ay, we are kicked away, now we come 
for our own ; the time hath been, he would ha' 
looked more friendly upon us. And you, 
Hodge, we know you well enough^ though you 
are so fine. 

Crorn. Come hither, sirrah: — Stay, what men 
are these 1 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 217 

My honest host of Hoimslow, and his wife ? 
I owe tliee money, father, do I not ? 

Scehj. Ay, by the body of nie, dost tliou. 
Woukl thou wouldst pay rae: good four pound 
it is ; I hav't o' the post at liome. 

Crom. I know 'tis true. Sirrah, give him 
ten angels : — 
And look your wife and you do stay to dinner ; 
And while you live, I freely give to you 
Four pound a year, for the four pound I owM 
you. 
Seehj. Art not changed ? Art old Tom still ? 
Now God bless thee, good Lord Tom. Home, 
Joan, home ; I'll dine with my Lord Tom to- 
day, and thou shalt come next week. Fetch 
my cow ; home, Joan, home. 

Joan. N'ow God bless thee, my good Lord 
Tom ; I'll fetch my cow presently. 

[Ej^it Jo AX. 
Enter Gardiner. 
Crom. (to Ilodfje). Sirrah, go to yon stranger; 
tell him, I 
Desire him stay to dinner : I must speak 
"With him. 

Gard. My lord of Norfolk, see you this same 
bubble ^? 
That's a mere puff? but mark the end, my lord ; 
But mark the end. 

Nor. I promise you, I like not something he 
hath done: • 
But let that pass ; the king doth love him well. 



218 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Ci'om. Good morrow to my lord of AVinchester : 
I know 
Yon bear me hard about the abbey lands. 

Gard. Have I not reason, when religion 's 
wrong'd 1 
Yon had no colour for what you have done. 

Crom. Yes, the abolishing of Antichrist, 
^Vnd of his popish order, from our realm. 
I am no enemy to religion ; 
But what is done, it is for England's good. 
What did tbey serve for, but to feed a sort 
Of lazy abbots and of full-fed friars 1 
They neither plough nor sow, and yet they reap 
The fat of all the land, and suck the poor. 
Look, what was theirs is in King Henry's 

hands ; 
His wealth before lay in the abbey lands. 

Oarcl. Indeed these things you have alleg'd, 
my lord ; 
When, God doth know, the infant yet unborn 
Will curse the time the abbeys were pulled 

down: 
I pray now where is hospitality 1 
Where now may poor distressed people go, 
For to relieve their need, or rest their bones, 
When weary travel doth oppress their limbs ? 
And where religious men should take them in. 
Shall now be kept back with a mastiff dog ; 
And thousand thousand — 

Nor. my lord, no more : 

Things past redress 'tis bootless to complain. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 219 

Crom. AVliat, shall we to the convocation- 
house?' 

Nor. We'll follow yon, iny lord ; pray, lead 
the way. 

Enter old Cromwell^ in the dress of a farmer. 

Old Crom. How ! one Cromwell made lord 
keeper, since I left Putney, and dwelt in York- 
shire ? I never heard better news: I'll see that 
Cromwell, or it shall go hard. 

Crom. ^fy aged father here ! State set aside, 
Father, upon my knee I crave your hlessing. 
One of my servants, go, and have him in ; 
At bettor leisure will we talk with him. 

Old Crom. Now if I die, how happy were the 
day !_ 
To see this comfort rains forth showers of joy. 
\_Exeunt old Cromwell and Servant. 
Nor. {Aside). This duty in him shows a kind 

of grace. 
Crom. Go on before, for time draws on apace. 
[Eweimt all but Frescobald. 
Fres. I wonder what this lord would have 
with me. 
His man so strictly gave me charge to stay: 
I never did offend him, to my knowledge. 
Well, good or bad, I mean to bide it all ; 
Worse than I am now, never can befall. 

E7iter Banister a?id Jiis Wife. 
Ban. Come, wife, 



220 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

I take it to be almost dinner time ; 
For Master Newton and Master Crosby sent 
To me last night, they would come dine with me. 
And take their bond in. Pray thee, hie thee 

home. 
And see that all things be in readiness. 

Mrs. Ban. They shall be welcome, husband ; 
I'll go before : 
But is not that man Master Frescobald 1 

[^She runs and embraces Jinn. 

Ban. heavens ! it is kind ]\raster Frescobald : 

Say^ sir, what hap hath brought you to this pass % 

Fres. The same that brought you to your 

misery. 
Ban. Why would you not acquaint me with 
your state ? 
Is Banister, your poor friend, then forgot, 
AVhose goods, whose love, whose life and all is 
yours % 
Fres. I thought your usage would be as the 
rest. 
That had more kindness at my hands than you. 
Yet look'd askance when as they saw me poor. 
J/rs. Ban. If Banister would bear so base a 
heart, 
I ne'er would look my husband in the face, 
But hate him as I would a cockatrice. 

Ban. And well thou mightest, should Banister 
so deal. 
Since that I saw you, sir, my state is mended ; 
And for the thousand pound I owe to you, 



THOMAS LORD CUOMWKLL. 221 

I liavf it ready for you, sir, at liome : 
And tliou^di I grieve your fortune is so bad, 
Yet that my liap's to lielp you makes ine glad. 
And now, sir, Avill it please you walk with mo ? 
JFres. Not yet I cannot, for the Lord Chan- 
cellor 
Hath here commanded me to wait on liim: 
For what, I know not ; pray God it be for good. 
JJa7L Kever make doubt of that ; I'll warraut 
you, 
lie is as kind and noble a gentleman, 
As ever did possess the place he hath. 

Mrs. Ban. Sir, my brother is his steward : if 
you please. 
We'll go along and bear you company ; 
I know we shall not want for welcome there. 
Fre-<. With all my heart, but what's become 

of Bagot ? 
Ban. He is liang'd for buying jewels of the 

king's. 
Fres. A just reward for one so impious. 
The time draws on, sir, will you go along 1 
Ban. I'll foUoAv you, kind Master Frescobald. 

\_ExGunt. 
Scene III. 

21' e same. Another street. 

Filter Newton and Crosby. 

JS'ew. Now Master Crosl)y, I see you have a 
care 
To keep your word, in payment of your money. 



222 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Cros. By my faitli, I have reason on a bond ; 
Three thousand pound is far too much to forfeit ; 
And yet I doubt not Master Banister. 

New. By m}^ faith, sir, your sum is more 

than mine ; 
And yet I am not much behind you too. 
Considering that to-day I paid at court. 

Cros. Mass, and 'tis well remember'd ; what's 

the reason 
That the Lord Cromwell's men wear such long 

skirts 
Upon their coats ? they reach down to their 

hams. 
New. I will resolve you, sir; and thus it is: 
The Bishop of Winchester, that loves not Crom- 
well 
(As great men are envied as well as less), 
A while ago there was a jar between them ; 
And it was brought to my Lord Cromwell's ear 
That Bishop Gardiner would sit on his skkts : 
L^jDon which word he made his men long blue 

coats, 
And in the court wore one of them himself ; 
And meeting Avith the bishop, quoth he, "My 

lord, 
Here's skirts enough now for your grace to sit 

on ; " 
Which vex'd the bishop to the very heart. 
This is the reason why they wear long coats. 

Cros. 'Tis always seen, and mark it for a ride_, 
That one great man will envy still another ; 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 223 

r>ut 'tis a thing that notliing concerns me: — 
What, shall wo now to Master lianister's] 

New. Ay, come, we'll pay him royally for <jur 
dinner. 

[E.reui(f. 
Scene IY. 
TJte same. A room in Cromwell'^ house. 
Enter the Usher, and the Sewer. Several Ser- 
vants cross the stage with dishes in their 
liands. 

JJsli. Uncover there, gentlemen. 
Enter Cromwell, Bedford, Suffolk, old Crom- 
well, Frescobald, Seely, and Attendants. 

Cram. My noble lords of Suffolk and of Led- 
ford, 
Your honours are welcome to poor CromwoU's 

house. 
Y^here is my father ? nay, be cover'd, father ; 
Although that duty to these noblemen 
Doth challenge it, yet I'll make bold with them. 
Your head doth bear the calendar of care. 
AVha*: ! Cromwell cover'd, and his father bare ? 
It must not be. — Now, sir, to you: is not 
Your name Frescobald, and a Florentine ? 

Fres. My name was Frescobald, till cruel fate 
Did rob me of my name, and of my state. 

Crom. AVhat fortune brought you to this 
country now ? 

Fres. All other parts have left me succourless 



224 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Save only this. Because of debts I have, 
I hope to gain, for to relieve my want. 

Crom. Did you not once, upon your Florence 
bridge, 
Help a distress'd man, robb'd by the banditti ! 
His name was Cromwell. 

Free. I never made my brain 

A calendar of any good I did : 
I always lov'd this nation with my heart. 

Crom. I am that Ciomwell that you the.e 
reliev'd. 
Sixteen ducats you gave me for to clothe me, 
Sixteen to bear my charges by the way, 
And sixteen more I had for my horse-hire. 
There be those several sums justly return'd: 
Yet 'twere injustice, serving at my need, 
For to repay thee without interest: 
Therefore receive of me these several bags : 
In each of them there are four hundred marks : 
And bring to me the names of all your debtors ; 
And if they will not see you paid, I will. 
O, God forbid that I should see him fall. 
That help'd me in my greatest need of all. 
Here stands my father, that first gave me life ; 
Alas, what duty is too much for him ? 
This man in time of need did save my life ; 
I therefore cannot do too much for him. 
By this old man I oftentimes was fed. 
Else might I have gone supperless to bed. 
Such kindness have I had of these three men, 
That Cromwell no way can repay again. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 225 

Now in to dinner, for we stay too long ; 
And to good stomachs is no greater wrong. 

[_Exeu7it. 

Scene Y. 

The same. A room in the Bishop of Winches- 
ter's house. 

Enter Gardiner and a Servant. 

Gard, Sirrah, where be those men I caus'd to 

stay ! 
IServ. They do attend your pleasure, sir, 

within. 
Gard. IJid them come hither, and stay you 
without : 

[Ej:it Servant. 
For by those men the fox of this same land, 
That makes a goose of better than himself, 
]Must worried be even to his latest home : 
Or Gardiner will fail in his intent. 
As for the dukes of Suffolk and of Xorfolk, 
Whom I have sent for to come speak with me ; 
Howsoever outwardly they shadow it, 
Yet in their hearts 1 know they love him not. 
As for the Earl of Bedford, he's but one, 
And dares not gainsay what we do set down. 

Enter the tuv Witnesses. 
Now, my good friends, you know I sav'd your 

lives. 
When, by the law, you had deserved death ; 



226 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

And then j'ou promis'd me_, upon your oaths. 
To venture both your lives to do me good. 
Both Wit. We swore no more than that we 

will perform. 
Gard. I take your words : and that which 
you must do, 
Is service for your God and for your king: 
To root a rebel from this flourishing land, 
One that's an enemy unto the church : 
And therefore must you take your solemn oath?^ 
That you heard CromweIl_, the lord chancellor, 
Did wish a dagger at King Henry's heart. 
Fear not to swear it, for I heard him speak it ; 
Therefore we'll shield you from ensuing harms. 
Both ^yit. If you will warrant us the deed is 
^ good, 
We'll undertake it. 

Gard. Kneel down, and I will here absolv-- 
you both ; 
This crucifix I lay upon your heads^ 
And sprinkle holy water on your brows : 
The deed is meritorious that you do, 
And by it shall you purchase grace from heaven^ 
First Wit. Now, sir, we'll undertake it^ by 

our souls. 
Sec. Wit. For Cromwell never lov'd none of 

our sort. 
Gard. I know he doth not ; and for both of 

I Avill prefer you to some place of worth. 
Now get you in, until I call for you, 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 227 

For presently the dukes mean to l^e here. 

Exeunt Witnesses* 
Cromwell, sit fast; thy time's not long to reign. 
The abbeys that were puU'd down by thy mean 
Are now a mean for me to piiU thee down. 
Thy pride also thy own head lights iii)on, 
For thou art he hath changed religion : — 
]]ut now no more, for here the dukes are come. 

Enter Suffolk, Xorfolk, and Bedford. 
Suf. Good even to my lord bishop. 
Nor. IIow fares my lord ? Avhat, are you all 

alone ! 
Gard. Xo, not alone, my lords ; my mind i< 
troubled. 
I know your honours muse wherefore I sent, 
And in such haste. What, came you from the king ? 
Nor. We did, and left none but Lord Crom- 
well with him. 
Gard. 0, what a dangerous time is this ^Ye 
live in ! 
There's Thomas Wolsey, he's already gone, 
And Thomas More, he follow'd after him : 
Another Thomas yet there doth remain, 
That is far worse than either of those twain; 
And if with speed, my lords, we not pursue it, 
I fear the king and all the land will rue it. 

Bid. Another Thomas 1 pray God, it be not 

Cromwell. 
Gard. ^ly lord of Bedford, it is that traitor 
Cromwell. 

Q 2 



228 THE LIFE AKD DEATH OF 

Bed, Is Cromwell false 1 my heart will never 

think it. 
.%/• My lord of AVinchester, what likelihood 
Or proof have you of this his treachery ? 

Gard. My lord, too much. — Call in the men 

within. 

Enter fJie "Witnesses. 
These men, my lord, upon their oaths, affirm 
That they did hear Lord Cromwell in his garden 
Wishing a dagger sticking at the heart 
Of our King Henry : what is this but treason ? 
JBed. If it be so, my heart doth bleed with 

sorrow. 
Siif. How say you, friends ? What, did you 

hear these words '? 
First Wit. We did, an't like your grace. 
iV^o?*. In what place was Lord Cromwell when 

he spake them ? 
Sec. Wit. In his garden ; where we did attend 
a suit, 
Which we had waited for two years and more. 
JSuf. How long is 't since you heard him speak 

these words ? 
Sec. Wit. Some half-year since. 
J3ed. How chance that you conceal'd it all this 

time ? 
First Wit. His greatness made us fear ; that 

was the cause. 
Gard. Ay, ay, his greatness, that's the cause 
indeed. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 220 

And to make his treason lierc more manifest, 
He calls his servants to him round about, 
Tells them of Wolsey's life, and of his fldl ; 
Says that himself hath many enemies, 
And gives to some of them a park, or manor, 
To others leases, lands to other some : 
What need he do this in his prime of life, 
And if he were not fearful of his death 1 

Suf. jNfy lord, these likelihoods are very great. 

Bed. Pardon me, lords, for I must needs 
depart ; 
Their proofs are great, but greater is my heart. 

[Ej:if I3EDFORD. 

Nor. My friends, take heed of that which you 
have said ; 
Your souls must answer what your tongues 

report : 
Tlierefore take heed^ be wary what you do. 
Sec. Wif. ]\Iy lord, we speak no more but 

truth. 
JVo/'. Let him 

Depart, my lord of Winchester : and let 
These men be close kept till the day of trial. 
Gard. They shall, my lord : ho, take in these 
two men. 

[Exeunt Witnesses, ^'c. 
My lords, if Cromwell have a public trial. 
That which we do is void, by his denial : 
You know the king will credit none but him. 
Nor. 'Tis true ; he rules the king even as he 
pleases. 



230 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Suf. How shall we do for to attach him, then ? 
Gard. Marry _, thus, my lords ; by an act he 
made himself, 
With an intent to entrap some of our lives ; 
And this it is : If any counsellor 
Be convicfedofhigli treason, lie shall 
Be executed wWiout pnhlic trial : 
This act, my lords^ he caus'd the king to make. 

Suf. He did, indeed, and I remember it ; 
And now 'tis like to fall upon himself. 

Nor. Let us not slack it ; 'tis for England's 
good : 
We must be wary, else he'll go beyond us. 

Gard. Well hath your grace said, my good 
lord of Norfolk : 
Therefore let us go presently to Lambeth; 
Thither comes Cromwell from the court to-night. 
Let us arrest him ; send him to the Tower ; 
And in the morning cut off the traitor's head. 
Nor. Come, then, about it ; let us guard the 
to-RTi : 
This is the day that Cromwell must go down. 
Gard. Along, my lords. Well, Cromwell is 
half dead ; 
He shaked my heart, but I will shake his head. 

\Ed:eunt. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 231 

ACT V. 

Scene I. 

A street in London, 

Enter Bedfohd. 

Bed. ISIy soul is like a water greatly trouLled ; 
And Gardiner is the man that makes it so. 
( ) Cromwell, I do fear thy end is near ; 
Yet I'll j^revent their malice if I can : 
And, in 'good time, see -where the man doth 

come, 
AVho little knows how near's his day of doom. 

Enter Cromwell, with his train. Uedford 
makes as thougli he would speah to him. 
Cromwell goes on. 

Cram. You're well encounter'd, my good lord 
of Bedford. 
I see your honour is address' d to talk. 
Pray, pardon me ; I am sent for to the king, 
And do not know the business yet myself : 
So fare you well, for I must needs be gone. 

[E.i:it Cromwell, ^'c. 
Bed. Be gone you must ; well, what the 
remedy 1 
I fear too soon you must be gone indeed. 
The king hath business ; but little dost thou 

know, 
Who's busy for thy life ; thou think'st not so. 



232 THE LIFE AND DEATH OP 

Re-enter Cromwell, attended. 

Crom. The second time well met, my lord of 
Eedford : 
I am very sorry that my haste is such. 
Lord Marquis Dorset being sick to death, 
I must receive of him the privy seal. 
At Lambeth soon, my lord^ we'll talk our fill. 

[Exit, 
Bed. How smooth and easy is the way to death I 

Enter a Messenger. 
]i[es. My lord, the dukes of iN'orfolk and of 
Suffolk, 
Accompanied with the Bishop of Winchester, 
Entreat you to come presently to Lambeth, 
On earnest matters that concern the state. 
Bed. To Lambeth ! so : go fetch me pen and 
ink ; 
I and Lord Cromwell there shall talk enough : 
Ay, and our last, I fear, an if he come. \_Writes. 
Here, take this letter, — bear it to Lord Cromwell; 
Bid him read it; say it concerns him near: 
Away, be gone, make all the haste you can. 
To Lambeth do I go a woful man. \Exeunt, 

Scene IL 
A street near the Thames. 
Enter Cromwell, attended. 

Crom. Is the barge ready? I will straight to 
Lambeth : 
And, if this one day's business once w^ere past, 
I'd take my ease to-morrow after trouble. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 23S 

Enter Messenger. 
How now, my friend, what, wouldst thou speak 
with me 1 
Mes. Sir, here's a letter from my lord of 
Bedford. 

lUit'cs him a letter. Cromwell imts 
it in Ids poclrt'f. 
Crom. good, my friend, commend me to thy 
lord: 
Ilohl, take tliese angels ; drink them fur thy 
pains. 
Mf's. He doth desire your grace to read it 
straight, 
Because he says it doth concern you near. 

Crom. Bid him assure himself of that. Faic- 
well. 
To-morrow, tell him, he shall hear from me. — 
Set on before there, and away to Lambeth. 

^Ej:euut. 

Scene IIL 

Lamhef/i. 

Entf'r Gardiner, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedford. 
Lieutenant (>f the Tower ^ a Sergeant-at- 
Arms, a Herald, and Halberds. 

Gard. Halberds, stand close unto the water- 
side ; 
Sergeant-at-arms, be you bold in your office ; 
Herald, deliver now your proclamation. 

Her. lliis is to give notice to all the ling's 
suhJedSj the late Lord Cromicell, lord chancellor nf 



Zoi THE LIFE AXD DEATH OF 

England, vicar-general over the realm, him to 
hold and esteem as a traitor against the croum and 
dignity of England. So God save the king. 

Gard. Amen. 

Bed. Amen, and root thee from the land ! 
For whilst thou liv'st, the truth can never stand. 

yor. Make a lane there, the traitor is at hand. 
Keep back Cromwell's men ; drown them, if 

they come on. 
Sergeant, your office. 

Enter Cromwell, attended. Hie halberd-men 
maJce a lane. 
Crom. What means my Lord of Norfolk by 
these words ? 
Sirs, come along. 

Gard. Kill them, if they come on. 

Ser. Lord Thomas Cromwell, in King Henry's 
name, 
I do arrest your honour of high treason. 
Crom. Sergeant, me of treason % 

[Cromwell's Attendants offer to draw. 
Suf. Kill them, if they draw a sword. 
Crom. Hold ; I charge you, as you love me, 
draw not a sword. 
"Who dares accuse Cromwell of treason now ? 
Gard. This is no place to reckon up your 
crime ; 
Your dove-like looks were view'd with serpent's 

eyes. 
Crom. With serpent's eyes, indeed; by thine 
they were. 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 235 

But, Gardiner, do tliy worst: I fear thee not. 
My faith ccjinpar'd with tliiue, as mucli sliall pass 
As doth the diamond excel the glass. 
Attach'd of treason, no accusers by ! 
Indeed, wliat tongue dares speak so foul a lie 1 
Nor. My lord, my lord, matters are too well 

known ; 
Ami it is time the king had note thereof. 

Croin. The king ! let me go to him liice to face ; 
No better trial I desire than that. 
Let him but say that Cromwell's faith was feign'd, 
Then let my honour and my name be stain' d. 
If e'er my heart against the king was set, 
O, let my soul in judgment answer it ! 
Then if my faith's confirmed with his reason, 
'Gainst whom hath Cromwell then committed 

treason ? 
Suf. My lord, my lord, your matter shall be 

tried : 
Meantime, with patience pray content yourself. 
Crom. Perforce I must with patience be con- 
tent: — 
n, dear friend Bedford, dost thou stand so near 1 
(,'romwell rejoiceth one friend sheds a tear. 
And whither is't 1 Which way must Cromwell 

now ? 
Gard. i\Iy lord, you must unto the Tower. 

Lieutenant, 
Take him unto your charge. 

Crom. Well, where you please ; but yet 

before I part. 
Let me confer a little with my men. 



236 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Gard. Ay, as you go by water, so you shall. 
Crom. I have some business present to impart. 
Nor. You may not stay: Lieutenant, take 

your charge. 
Crom. Well, Avell, my lord, you second 
Gardiner's text. 
Xorfolk, farewell ! thy turn will be the next. 

[Exeunt Cromwell and Lieutenant. 
Gard. His guilty conscience makes him rave, 

my Lord. 
Nor, Ay, let him talk; his time is short 

enough. 
Gard. My Lord of Bedford, come; you weep 
for him 
That would not shed a single tear for you. 
Bed. It grieves me for to see his sudden fall. 
Gard, Such, success wish I unto traitors all. 

[Exeunt. 

Scene TV. London. A street. 
Enter Two Citizens. 
First at. Why, can this news be true ? Is't 
possible % 
The great Lord Cromwell arrested upon treason ? 
I hardly will believe it can be so. 

Eec. at. It is too true, sir. Would 'twere 
otherwise, 
Condition I spent half the wealth I have ! 
I was at Lambeth, saw him there arrested, 
And afterward committed to the Tower. 

First at. What, was't for treason that he 
was committed 1 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 237 

S-ec. Cit. Kind^ noLle gentleman ! I may rue 
the time : 
All that I have, I did enjoy l)y him ; 
And if he die, then all my state is gone. 

First at. It may be hoped that he shall not 
die, 
Lecause the king did favour him so much. 
Sec. Cit. 0, sir, you are deceiv'd in thinking 
so. 
Tlie grace and favour he had with the king 
Hath caus'd him have so many enemies. 
He that in court secure will keep himself, 
Must not be great, for then he's envied at. 
The shrub is safe, when as the cedar shakes ; 
For where the king doth love above compare, 
Of others they as much more envied are. 

First Cit. 'Tis pity that this nobleman should 
fall, 
He did so many charitable deeds. 

Sec. Cit. 'Tis true; and yet you see in each 
estate 
There's none so good, but some one doth him 

hate; 
And they before would smile him in the face, 
Will be the foremost to do him disgrace. 
What, will you go along unto the court ? 

First Cit. I care not if I do, and hear the 
news. 
How men w^ill judge what shall become of him. 
Sec. Cit. Some will speak hardly, some will 
speak in pity. 
Go you to the court 1 I'll go into the city ; 



238 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

There I am sure to hear more ne-ws than yon. 
First at. Why, then, we soon will meet again. 
Adieu. [Exeunt. 

Scene Y. A room in the Toicer. 

Enter Cromwell. 

Crorn. ZSTow^ Cromwell, hast thou time to 
meditate. 

And think upon thy state, and of the time. 

Thy honours came unsought, ay, and unlook'd for; 

Thy fall as sudden, and unlook'd for too. 

What glory was in England that I had not ? 

Who in this land commanded more than Crom- 
well ^ 

Except the king, who greater than myself ? 

But now I see what after-ages shall ; 

The greater men, more sudden is their fall. 

And now I do remember, the Earl of Bedford 

Was very desirous for to speak to me ; 

And afterward sent unto me a letter, 

The which 1 think I still have in my pocket ; 

I^ow may I read it, for I now have leisure. 

And this I take it is : \_Reads. 

My Lord, come not this night to Laiiibeth, 
For, if you do, your state is overthrown ; 
And much I douM your life, an^ if you come : 
Then if you Jove yourself, stay where you are. 

God, God ! had I but read this letter. 
Then had I been free from the lion's paw : 
Deferring this to read until to-morrow, 

1 spurn' d at joy, and did embrace my sorrow* 



THOMAS LOED CROMWELL. 239 

Enter Lieutenant of the Tower, Oflicers, t)V. 

Now, Master Lieutenant, whcn's this day <jf 

death 1 
Lieu. ALis, my lord, would I might never 

see it ! 
Here are the Dukes of Suffolk and of Norfolk, 
Winchester, Bedford, and Sir Kichard Kadclill", 
With others still; but why they come I knuw 

not. 
Croin. No matter Avhercfore. Cromwell is 

prepar'd, 
For Gardiner has my life and state ensnar'd. 
Jjid them come in, or you shall do them wrong, 
For here stands he who some think lives too 

long. 
Learning kills learning, and, instead of ink 
To dip his pen Cromwell's heart-blood doth drink. 

Ent(^r tlio Dukes of Su^tolk and Norfolk ; 
the Earl of Bedford, Gardiner Bisiiijp 
OF Winchester, Sir Richard Kadcliff, 
and Sir Ralph Saddler. 

^ur. Good morrow, Cromwell. What, alone, 

so sad '? 
Crom. One good among you, none of you are 
bad. 
For my part, it best fits me be alone; 
Sadness with me, not I with any one. 
What, is the king acquainted with my cause ? 
Nor. He is; and he hath answer d us, my 
Lord. 



2-10 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF 

Crom. How sliall I come to speak with him 
myself ? 

Qard. The king is so advertised of your guilt, 
He'll by no means admit you to his presence. 

Crom. "No way admit me ! am I so soon forgot ? 
Did he but yesterday embrace my neck, 
And said that Cromwell was even half himself % 
And are his princely ears so much bewitch'd 
"With scandalous ignomy, and slanderous speeches, 
That now he doth deny to look on me 1 
AYell, my lord of Winchester, no doubt but you 
Are much in favour with his majesty: 
Will you bear a letter from me to his grace 1 

Gard. Pardon me ; I will bear no traitor's 
letters. 

Crom. Ha I — Will you do this kindness then, 
to tell him 
By word of nouth what I shall say to you 1 

Gard. That will I. 

Crom. But, on your honour, will you ? 

Gard. Ay, on my honour. 

Crom. Bear witness, lords. — Tell him, when 
he hath known you, 
And tried your faith but half so much as mine, 
He'll find you to be the falsest-hearted man 
Living in England : pray you, tell him this. 

Bed. Be patient^ good my lord, in these 
extremes. 

Crom. ]\ry kind and honourable lord of 
Bedford, 
I know your honour always lov'd me well: 
But, pardon me, this still shall be my theme ; 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 241 

Gardiner's the cause makes Cromwell so extreme. 
Sir Kulph Sadler, I pray a word with you ; 
You were my man, and all that you possess 
Came hy my means : sir, to recpiite all this, 
Say will you take this letter here of mt;, 
And pjive it with your own hands to the king? 

Sad. I kiss your hand, and never will I rest 
Ere to the king this be delivered. [Exit Sadler. 

Crom, Why then yet Cromwell hath one 
friend in store. 

Gard. JUit all the haste he makes shall be 
but vain. 
Here 's a discharge, sir, for your prisoner, 
To see him executed presently : 

[To the Lieutenant. 
My lord, you hear tlie tenure of your life. 

Crom. I do embrace it ; welcome my last date, 
And of this glistering world I take last leave: 
And, noble lords, I take my leave of you. 
As willingly I go to meet with death. 
As Gardiner did pronounce it with his breath. 
From treason is my heart as white as snow ; 
;My death procured only by my foe. 
I pray, commend me to my sovereign king, 
And tell him in what sort his Cromwell died, 
To lose his head before his cause was tried ; 
]5ut let his grace, when he shall hear my name. 
Say only this: Gardiner procur'd the same. 

Enter young Cromwell. 

Lieu. Here is your son, sir, come to take his 
leave. 

R 



212 THE LIFE AXD DEATH OF 

Crom. To take his leave ? Come hither, 

Harry Cromwell ; 
Mark, boy, the last words that I speak to thee : 
Flatter not Fortune, neither fawn upon her ; 
Gape not for state, yet lose no spark of honour ; 
Ambition, like the plague, see thou eschew it ; 
I die for treason, boy, and never knew it. 
Yet let thy faith as spotless be as mine, 
And Cromwell's virtues in thy face shall shine : 
Come, go along, and see me leave my breath. 
And I'll leave thee upon the floor of death. 

Son. father, I shall die to see that wound. 
Your blood being spilt will make my heart to 

s wound. 
Crom. How, boy ! not dare to look upon the 

axe? 
How shall I do then to have my head struck 

off? 
Come on, my child, and see the end of all ; 
And after say, that Gardiner was my fall. 

Gard. My lord, you speak it of an envious 

heart ; 
I have done no more than law and equity. 

JBed. 0, my good lord of Winchester, forbear : 
'Twould better have beseem'd you to be absent, 
Than with your words disturb a dying man. 
Cw7n. Who, me, my lord ? no : he disturbs 

not me. 
My mind he stirs not, though his mighty shock 
Hath brought more peers' heads down unto the 

block. — 



THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 243 

Farewell, my boy! all Cromwoll can Itequeath, 
My hearty Idessing ; — so J take my leave. 

Exec. I am your death's-man ; fray, my lord, 

forgive me. 
Crom. Even -with my soul. Wliy, man, thou 

art my doctor, 
And bring'st me precious phy.-ic for my soul. — 
IVfy lord of Bedford, I desire of you 
J>efore my death a corj^oral embrace. 

[Ckomwkf.l f'jnhracf's him. 
Farewell, great lord ; my love I do commend, 
]\Iy heart to you ; my soul to heaven I send. 
This is my joy, that ere my body fleet, 
Yo\ir honour'd arms are my true winding-sheet. 
Farewell, dear Bedford ; my peace is made in 

heaven. 
Thus falls great Cromwell, a poor ell in length, 
To rise to unmeasur'd height, Aving'd with waw 

strength, 
The land of worms, which dying men discover: 
My soul is shrin'd M'lth heaven's celestial cover. 
[Exeunt Ckomwkll, Officers, &r. 
Bed. Well, farewell Cromwell ! sure the 

truest friend 
That ever Bedford shall possess again. — 
AVell, lords, I fear that when this man is dead. 
You'll wish in vain that Cromwell had a head. 

Enter an Officer, with Cromwell's head. 

Offi. Here is the head of the deceased Cromwell. 
R 2 



244 THOMAS LORD CROMWELL. 

Bed. Pray thee, go hence, and bear his head 
away 
Unto his body ; inter them both in clay. 

lExit Officer. 

Enter Sir Kalph Sadler. 

Sad. How now, my lords 1 What, is Lord 

Cromwell dead 1 
Bed. Lord Cromwell's body now doth want a 

head. 
Sad. God, a little speed had saved his life. 
Here is a kind reprieve come from the king, 
To bring him straight unto his majesty. 

Suf. Ay, ay, Sir Ralph, reprieves come now 

too late. 
Gard. My conscience now tells me this deed 
was ill. 
Wonld Christ that Cromwell were alive again ! 
JSIor. Come, let ns to the king, who, well I 
know, 
Will grieve for Cromwell, that his death was so. 

[Exeunt omnes. 



FINIS. 



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